North Korea Leadership Watch

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Pak Ui Chun Departs Myanmar

DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun signs a vistors' book during a visit to the Schwedagon Pagoda on 29 July 2010 (Photo: Yonhap)

DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun has departed from Myanmar (Burma) for Indonesia.  Pak met with Myanmar’s foreign minister, U Nyan Win, on Friday in Myanmar’s administrative capital city of Naypidaw on Friday (30 July).  During his 4-day sojourn to Myanmar, Pak met Myanmar’s Prime Minister, Thein Sein.  Pak also reportedly met with two of the Myanmar regime’s ruling generals, and he toured the Schwedagon Pagoda and the National Museum.

Yonhap reports:

The two sides “exchanged views on the issue of developing the friendly relations between the two countries and regional and international issues of mutual concern,” the report said, without elaborating on details.

Pak arrived in Myanmar earlier this week, a closely monitored visit that has sparked outside concerns that Myanmar’s military rulers may be seeking nuclear cooperation with North Korea, which has conducted two nuclear tests in 2006 and last year. Some reports have suggested that North Korea has delivered military equipment to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Myanmar’s junta against any atomic weapons cooperation with North Korea, saying “We continue to be concerned by the reports that Burma may be seeking assistance from North Korea with regard to a nuclear program.”

Pak’s visit to Myanmar was the first by a North Korean foreign minister in 27 years. Myanmar cut off ties with North Korea in 1983 after Pyongyang was found to have carried out a bombing attack on a South Korean presidential delegation on an official visit to the Southeast Asian country.

Irawaddy reports on Pak’s trip:

The Korean Central News Agency featured a report about Pak’s meeting with Thein Sein as the top news story on its website on Sunday under the headline “Myanmar [Burma] PM Hails Development of Relations with DPRK [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea].”

“Thein Sein noted with high appreciation that the Korean people have made big strides in strengthening of the military capability and economic construction under the wise leadership of Kim Jong Il,” the North Korean media reported.

It said that Thein Sein told Pak that Burma will continuously “strive for strengthening and development of the friendly and cooperative relations” with North Korea.
On Saturday, the North Korean media also reported on Pak’s meeting with his counterpart Nyan Win in Naypyidaw, saying the two ministers exchanged views on the issue of boosting ties between the two countries as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Unlike the North Korean media, Burma’s state-run-media did not report any details during the meetings, saying only that Thein Sein received a delegation led by Pak in talks in Naypyidaw on Friday.

On Sunday, Pak left Burma for Indonesia on the final leg of a four-Asian nation tour. Although North Korea and Burma’s state media did not report it, official sources in Naypyidaw said the North Korean minister also met with top Burmese generals such as joint chief of staff Gen Shwe Mann and chief of military ordnance Lt-Gen Tin Aye.

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