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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid