Stati Uniti preoccupati per la cooperazione militare tra Birmania e Corea del Nord – Art. di Mark Landler
Pubblichiamo l’articolo del New York Times nel quale si riportano le preoccupazioni espresse dal Segretario di Stato americano, Hillary Clinton, in merito alla crescente cooperazione militare tra il regime di Pyongyang e la giunta birmana. Quest’asse, sempre secondo la Clinton, potrebbe destabilizzare l’intera regione ed in particolare i Paesi del Sud-est asiatico, prima fra tutti la Thailandia. Sullo sfondo rimane lo spettro di un programma militare di cooperazione nucleare. E’ molto probabile che questo tema dominerà il Forum per la Sicurezza Regionale che inizierà domani, mercoledì 22 Luglio, a Phukhet.           

Da tempo l’Amministrazione Obama ha annunciato di voler procedere ad una profonda revisione della sua politica nei confronti della Birmania, partendo dalla considerazione che le sanzioni attuali si sono dimostrate inefficaci. Molti pensano che solo quando questa nuova linea prenderà corpo, si potranno verificare dei cambiamenti nell’atteggiamento della giunta militare.                  

Nel frattempo, in questi giorni, Hillary Clinton ha avuto modo di parlare più volte del Paese asiatico, condannando le violazioni dei diritti umani e le persistenti violenze contro le donne attribuite all’esercito regolare. Il Segretario di Stato americano ha espresso inoltre le proprie preoccupazioni per il processo contro Aung San Suu Kyi, i cui capi d’accusa sono stati definiti dalla stessa Clinton come “senza fondamento e totalmente inaccettabili”. 

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New York Times

U.S. worried over Myanmar-N. Korea arms links
Mark Landler             

New York Times - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, arriving here for a meeting of Southeast Asian nations, expressed concern on Tuesday about what she called growing evidence of military cooperation between North Korea and Myanmar, which she said could destabilize the region.
Declaring that she takes the reports such cooperation “very seriously,” Mrs. Clinton said that expanded military ties between the countries would “pose a direct threat” to Myanmar’s neighbors. She singled out Thailand, an ally of the United States and the host of the regional meeting, as being vulnerable to a heavily armed Myanmar, a reclusive dictatorship also known as Burma.
Suspicions about North Korea’s relationship with Myanmar deepened recently when a North Korea freighter appeared to be steaming toward Myanmar. American officials, believing the ship might be carrying weapons or other illicit cargo, tracked it until it reversed course.              

North Korea is already suspected of supplying Myanmar with small arms and ammunition, but some intelligence analysts contend that North Korea is also helping Myanmar pursue a nuclear weapons program. They cite as possible evidence newly published photos circulated by Burmese dissident groups of what some analysts assert are a network of giant tunnels outside Myanmar’s jungle capital, Naypyidaw, built with help from North Korean engineers.               

Mrs. Clinton did not say whether the Obama administration shares suspicions about any nuclear cooperation. But another senior administration official said the United States had not discounted the possibility. “North Korea has a history of proliferating,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because only Mrs. Clinton was authorized to speak publicly in advance of the conference.                   

Even without these links, Myanmar and North Korea are likely to dominate the meeting of the Association of Southeast Nations, or ASEAN, which begins Wednesday on the resort island of Phuket.               

Mrs. Clinton plans to meet with the foreign ministers of several countries to firm up support for the latest United Nations resolution against North Korea, adopted after Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests.              

Although the United States is putting most of its emphasis on enforcing the sanctions in that resolution, it has begun discussing possible incentives that the countries could offer North Korea, if its regime agreed to abandon its nuclear ambitions and return to the bargaining table.              

Officials declined to say what might be on the table, though they said it would be a mix of familiar and new elements. In the past, the United States and other counties have offered Pyongyang shipments of fuel.             

“There are obviously a list of incentives, offers that could be made if the North Koreans evidence any willingness to take a different path,” Mrs. Clinton said at a news conference here, after arriving from New Delhi. “As of this moment in time, we haven’t seen that evidence.”            

The administration’s decision to broach the possibility of incentives, officials said, will make it easier to persuade countries like China, which have previously resisted sanctions against North Korea, from agreeing to implement the tougher measures in the United Nations resolution.               

North Korea is expected to send a delegate to the ASEAN conference, but Mrs. Clinton did not plan to meet that person. American officials said there was always the possibility of a chance encounter of a North Korean diplomat and one of Mrs. Clinton’s lieutenants on the sidelines.                 

Mrs. Clinton also has no plans to meet with a representative of Myanmar. On Tuesday, she used unusually tough language in discussing the country’s human rights record and its treatment of Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader on trial for violating her house arrest by sheltering an American man who swam across a lake to her bungalow last May.             

“We are deeply concerned by the reports of continuing human rights abuses within Burma,” she said, “and particularly by actions that are attributed to the Burmese military, concerning the mistreatment and abuse of young girls.”             
The Obama administration has been reviewing American policy toward Myanmar since February, when Mrs. Clinton declared that the existing sanctions against its military regime had been ineffective.             

But the United States will not announce a new policy at this meeting, largely because repeated delays in the trial of Mrs. Aung Sang Suu Kyi have made it difficult for the administration to develop a response. Mrs. Clinton repeated her demand that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi be treated fairly, and dismissed the charges against her as “baseless and totally unacceptable.”                

“Our position is that we are willing to have a more productive partnership with Burma if they take steps that are self-evident,” she said.                

She called on the regime to release political prisoners and to “end the violence” against its own people, including ethnic minorities. In recent months, the military has launched a fierce offensive against the Karen minority, driving refugees across the border into Thailand.             

Both Chinese and American officials have pressed Myanmar to adhere to the anti-proliferation measures in the sanctions against North Korea, which it has pledged to do. Analysts say there is evidence, in the aborted voyage of the North Korean freighter, that the regime got the message.             

Without a new American policy to announce, however, the United States and Asian nations are unlikely to break much ground in trying to bring the generals who run Myanmar back into the fold.              

Appearing with Mrs. Clinton, one of Thailand’s deputy prime ministers, Korbsak Sabhavasu, said, “I think we basically almost just about share the same thoughts and ideas on how to solve this problem.”

(21 Luglio 2009)