Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


June 26, 2008

Please forward widely.

We have new, disturbing, and detailed intelligence about the assistance Russia is providing Burma’s dictatorship, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), on its nuclear program and more generally its military modernization. A 10 MW reactor is to be installed in the Kyauk Pa Toe area of Tha Beik Kyin Township, Mandalay Division, by the end of this year. Russia is also providing a factory to produce guided rockets (precision-guided munitions – PGMs), which will be constructed in Thazi Township in the Pyin Nyaung area on the Shwe Nyaung Railway between Mandalay Division and Southern Shan State. More than five thousand Burmese “State Scholars,” who have already graduated from the Defense Services Academy, are studying in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Their subjects include nuclear science, tunneling science, rocketry, artillery, and a wide variety of other military fields. In return for this assistance, Russia has received mining concessions in Burma for gold, titanium and uranium.

This intelligence confirms information that we have already published from other sources, and it also fills in some of the gaps in the overall picture of SPDC military cooperation with Russia and North Korea. It further means that, behind the scenes, the situation for freedom and democracy in Burma is getting worse. Notwithstanding the crackdown on democracy activists and the monks, and the effects of Cyclone Nargis, the time left to win freedom is running out. This implies a need for dramatic action.

We would like to hear what the U.S. and the IAEA know about the SPDC’s nuclear program, and are doing to prevent it. Russian assistance to Burma is following the exact same pattern that occurred between the Soviet Union and North Korea, and though which North Korea secured nuclear weapons. Proliferation in North Korea, Iran, Syria and now Burma is one of the top threats we face. The SPDC’s effort must be stopped, and Russia must be reined in from this program to destabilize the world.