North Korea’s foreign minister visited Myanmar on Thursday for high-level talks that come on the heels of a US warning against any cooperation between the two nations on nuclear technology.
Officials and diplomats confirmed the arrival of Foreign minister Pak Ui Chun, who is on a four-nation tour and making his first visit to Myanmar since the two countries resumed diplomatic ties in 2007. The sources spoke anonymously because the visit has not been officially announced by the military-ruled government.
Few details are known about Pak’s four-day visit. He was scheduled to tour Yangon’s famed Shwedagon Pagoda before travelling Friday to the administrative capital of Naypyitaw to meet his counterpart, Nyan Win, and other senior government officials, the officials and diplomats said. The subject of talks has not been disclosed.
Myanmar and North Korea are two of Asia’s most authoritarian regimes, and both face sanctions by the West. They have had increasingly close ties in recent years, especially in military affairs, and there are fears that Pyongyang is supplying the army-led Southeast Asian regime with nuclear technology.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed concern at a security meeting last week with senior Asian officials about reports that North Korea had delivered military equipment to Myanmar, also known as Burma.
“We continue to be concerned by the reports that Burma may be seeking assistance from North Korea with regard to a nuclear programme,” Clinton said. “We will be discussing further ways in which we can cooperate to alter the actions of the government in Burma and encourage the leaders there to commit to reform and change and the betterment of their own people.”
On his regional tour, Pak also visited Vietnam and Laos and was headed next to Indonesia, diplomats said.
Myanmar severed diplomatic relations with North Korea in 1983, following a fatal bombing attack during a visit by South Korea’s then-President Chun Doo-hwan that killed 21 people, including four South Korean Cabinet ministers.
Three North Korean commandos involved in the bombing were detained â€” one blew himself up during his arrest, a second was hanged and a third died in prison in 2008.