The Straits Times
Published on Nov 18, 2012

US says Myanmar stepping away from North Korea


BANGKOK (AFP) - Myanmar has taken "positive steps" to reduce its military relationship with North Korea, the White House said ahead of a historic visit by President Barack Obama to Yangon.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, was suspected of pursuing military and nuclear cooperation with Pyongyang during long years of junta rule which ended last year.

"We've had a dialogue with the Burmese government about the need to reduce their relationship with North Korea," Mr Ben Rhodes, a United States deputy national security advisor said on Air Force One as Mr Obama flew to Asia.

"We've seen them take some positive steps in that direction. And what we'd like to see, again, is an end to the relationship that has existed between Burma and North Korea." Mr Rhodes noted that Washington had also begun the early stages of a military-to-military engagement with Myanmar, and hinted that over time, the country could expect to join annual US military exercises with Thailand.