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Cablegate: Burma: Another Conversation About Burma-Dprk

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGO #0732 3140935
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 100935Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9588
INFO RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 3096
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2410
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2328
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2246
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0128
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0616
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 9386
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2757
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

Tuesday, 10 November 2009, 09:35
S E C R E T RANGOON 000732
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR EAP/MLS, INR/EAP
PACOM FOR FPA
EO 12958 DECL: 11/10/2019
TAGS KNNP, PARM, PREL, NPT, PGOV, PINR, KN, BM
SUBJECT: BURMA: ANOTHER CONVERSATION ABOUT BURMA-DPRK
NUCLEAR ISSUE
REF: RANGOON 502
Classified By: CDA Larry Dinger for Reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)
1. (S) [NAME REMOVED] , who on [DETAILS REMOVED] informed Australian Ambassador Chan in Rangoon that Burma and the DPRK were engaged in “peaceful nuclear cooperation” (reftel), has changed [DETAILS REMOVED] story. In a November 9 conversation with Ambassador Chan, [NAME REMOVED] said there had been a “misunderstanding.” After Chan’s “blunt” response to the August revelation (Chan had responded with incredulity to the thought that the GOB might consider nuclear cooperation of any sort with the DPRK to be acceptable), [NAME REMOVED] had checked around Nay Pyi Taw. [DETAILS REMOVED] now says GOB-DPRK conversations were merely “exploratory.” [NAME REMOVED] cannot confirm any direct nuclear cooperation. [DETAILS REMOVED] added that, in any case, the Kang Nam 1 affair and Secretary Clinton’s remarks in Phuket in July “put everything on hold.”
2. (S)[NAME REMOVED] observed that Russia is the key GOB partner for a nuclear reactor, but [DETAILS REMOVED] said there has been no progress. Russia has proposed a commercial deal, and the GOB cannot afford it. [NAME REMOVED] added that many countries have relations with the DPRK, including Australia, “so why worry?!”
Comment
-------
3. (S) As with many issues in Burma, the truth behind and possible motivations for [NAME REMOVED] first version and the recent revision are difficult to ascertain. Ambassador Chan now believes [DETAILS REMOVED] was simply speculating in August and has corrected the record. We were not in the actual conversations, but to us [DETAILS REMOVED] revision sounds more like an effort to cover a lapse in judgment than to deny the earlier story outright. The comment about the Kang Nam 1 and the Secretary’s remarks having “put everything on hold” leave room for concern. That noted, other of [NAME REMOVED] comments have caused us to question just how well plugged in [NAME REMOVED] is on the “nuclear” issue. Bottom line: GOB-DPRK cooperation remains opaque. Something is certainly happening; whether that something includes “nukes” is a very open question which remains a very high priority for Embassy reporting. DINGER

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