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ASEAN ANALYSIS

Asean Affairs   13 June  2011

Myanmar again disgraces Asean


By  David Swartzemtruber

 
AseanAffairs     13 June 2011

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Late Sunday the New York Times reported that last month the US Navy turned back a North Korean ship suspected of carrying missile technology to Myanmar.

The US government made no official announcement about the operation, the paper added. But it said US officials had described the episode as an example of how they can use a combination of naval power and diplomatic pressure to enforce UN sanctions imposed on North Korea after its 2009 nuclear test.

'This case had an interesting wrinkle: the ship was North Korean, but it was flagged in Belize,' one US official told The Times. And the authorities in Belize gave permission to the United States to inspect the ship, according to the report.

On May 26, somewhere south of Shanghai, the US destroyer McCampbell caught up with the cargo ship M/V Light and hailed it, asking to board the vessel under the authority given by Belize, The Times wrote.

Four times, the North Koreans refused. But a few days later, the cargo ship stopped dead in the water and turned back to its home port, tracked by US surveillance planes and satellites, the report said.

Myanmar once again proves to the world that its recent elections are a mere façade and the military are in firm control.

It would be a welcome step for some type of diplomatic intervention on the part of Asean, as the regional grouping is the closest contact to the outside world that Myanmar can boast. However, this is probably expecting too much from Asean.

Myanmar’s apparent desire to become a nuclear power in spite of the impoverishment of its citizens and disregard for human rights completes the picture of a renegade state with no intention of living up to the Asean Charter.

By
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

 

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