U.S. diplomat on North Korea to meet with Myanmar leaders

The United States’ special representative for North Korea policy is visiting Myanmar this week to intensify U.S. efforts in curtailing revenue for the Kim Jong Un regime.


Yonhap reported Sunday U.S. Amb. Joseph Yun is expected to meet with Myanmar’s state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the current commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces.

The trip to Myanmar follows Yun’s attendance at the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue in Singapore, where a handful of local businesses have been suspected of helping North Korea entities, CNN reported.
Myanmar is a key country of interest, because it is unclear whether the country’s military still purchases weapons from North Korea.

Prior to the Myanmar’s 2015 elections, North Korea supplied the military junta with weapons technology, according to the report.

Anthony Ruggiero, a former deputy director of the U.S. Treasury Department, said the visit could send a signal to Myanmar the United States is watching.

“Of course, [Myanmar] was different back then,” Ruggiero said. “The question I would have [now], is how many people in the military are still sort of around and interested in having that relationship with North Korea. And I don’t know how much control she [Aung San Suu Kyi] has over all of the government…it only takes a couple of military officials who want to continue that relationship for it to continue.”

Ruggiero said the United States should send a message to countries that does business with Pyongyang.

“We’re going to give these countries and these banks and companies a choice — continue to do business in the U.S. dollar or work with North Korea,” Ruggiero said, regarding what the message should be to countries in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

In June, a North Korean defector who resettled in the United States said a line of business in Singapore is still operational to the present day.

Ri Jong Ho said 200,000-300,000 tons of crude oil from Russia are brought into North Korea through intermediaries in Singapore.

By Elizabeth Shim