News / Asia

Seoul: Burma to Comply with UN Resolutions on Pyongyang

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, right, shakes hands with Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon, May 15, 2012.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, right, shakes hands with Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon, May 15, 2012.
Daniel Schearf
BANGKOK -- Burma has promised visiting South Korean President Lee Myung-bak it will no longer buy weapons from North Korea. During his historic visit, Lee also met with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and expressed confidence that Burma’s reform process could follow in South Korea’s footsteps.

On Tuesday, South Korea’s presidential Blue House issued a statement confirming Burmese President Thein Sein's promise to comply with U.N. resolutions aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Recent High-Ranking Visits to Burma

  • U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited in April. Praising President Thein Sein, he urged further rollback of Western sanctions
  • EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton opened a new EU office in Burma on April 28 after the bloc suspended sanctions
  • British PM David Cameron visited in April, met with President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited in November
The pledge was given during a Monday meeting with Lee, who was also assured Burma never pursued nuclear cooperation with Pyongyang.

As early as 2006, Burmese defectors and Seoul foreign intelligence officers suspected North Korea was helping Burma develop a secret nuclear program, which Burma has always denied.

Lee told journalists that he urged President Thein Sein not to violate United Nations resolutions on North Korea, adding that he also praised the Burmese leader for moving the country away from military rule and toward democracy, comparing it to South Korea’s own experience.

"South Korea is a rare country that has achieved industrialization as well as democratization," said the South Korean leader, adding that he was confident "Burma is going to go along a very similar path of not only becoming more prosperous and providing a better life for its people but, more importantly, becoming a true democracy."
 
Lee made the comments after meeting with opposition democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She said the Burmese people, like South Koreans, took the “hard road” to democratic leadership.
 
"We are at a point in the history of our country when there is a possibility for transition, but I do not think we can take it for granted that this transition will come about," she said. "The intention is there and there is good will from all over the world, but we have to make sure that we do not dissipate this good will and that we put it to the best use possible by making sure that it is used in the best way possible, which is for sake of our people."

South Korea as a Model Democracy
The government-owned New Light of Myanmar newspaper on Tuesday said Burma wants South Korea to share its experience with economic development and democratic reform.
 
Seoul, which was run by the military following the Korean War that divided North and South in the 1950s, transitioned to civilian rule.
 
Ralph Cossa, president of the pacific forum in Honolulu, said South Korea, along with Taiwan, is one of the few models that Burma could follow.
 
"Burma could learn a lot from South Korea and how they managed their transition to democracy, because the South did this extremely successfully," he said. "In a fairly short number of years, they went from being a military dictatorship to having a [somewhat] controlled presidential election like [the controlled democratic elections] they’re having [in Burma], to the extent of now being a very robust and unpredictable democracy in South Korea."

Cossa said the trip also gives the South a rare diplomatic victory over North Korea, as Pyongyang has recently been in the spotlight for threats against South Korea and a much publicized but failed rocket launch.

Lee’s visit is the first by a South Korean president since 1983 when North Korean agents bombed the South’s delegation as they were visiting Martyr’s Mausoleum, a Rangoon monument to Aung San Suu Kyi’s father, independence hero Aung San. The blast, which claimed 21 people, killed several Korean diplomats but missed the president only because he was stuck in traffic.
 
In response, Burma severed relations with North Korea, although official ties resumed in 2007 amid suspicions of military or even nuclear cooperation.
 
The South Korean president Tuesday made a brief visit to the site of the 1983 bombing.

An Eye on Investment Ethics
Suzanne DiMaggio, Vice President of Global Policy Programs with the New York based Asia Foundation, said that while North Korea is a forefront issue, the trip is primarily focused on promoting economic ties.
 
"South Korea has had economic relations with Burma for quite a while now, and in fact is Burma’s fourth largest foreign investor," she said. "And I do think after this visit we’ll see those trade relations and economic relations increase."

Korean company Daewoo is currently investing billions in Burma, including funds for a natural gas field to supply pipelines stretching to China. The pipelines, which are under construction, have sparked controversy among domestic and international critics.
 
DiMaggio said Korean businesses need to be more aware of growing movements inside Burma for socially and environmentally responsible investing.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dr. thetlwin from: Yangon Burma
May 15, 2012 11:56 AM
US Immigrant issue is a goodsign for global democracy.More migration is better. Killing of sharks is not worse than killing of men.We should takecare of the mankind first.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs