Burmese junta uses n Korean expertise to build secret tunnels
The sources, who asked not to be identified because the information they gave could endanger their lives, said that Burmese intelligence officials have began massive investigations to identify the source of the leak. They have combed the city of Rangoon and interviewed associates of former intelligence chief, Lt-General Khin Nyunt, to search for persons who might have leaked one of their most secretive programmes. They have already arrested several suspects, including journalists, who might have got access to these sensitive photos and documents.
Swedish journalist, Bertil Litner, detailed Pyongyang’s efforts in helping Rangoon to build underground bunkers in various locations. The author said the photographs, which were obtained by the Democratic Voice of Burma, showed an extensive network of underground installations that was built near Burma’s fortified new capital, Naypyidaw, 450km north of Rangoon.
The photographs, which first appeared in YaleGlobal Online on June 8, have puzzled the Bangkok-based diplomatic community. “We are interested in the news and we are following it closely,” said a senior diplomat from an Asean country, who asked not to be identified. A Thai intelligence source yesterday confirmed the existence of the tunnels but did not express any serious concern. “The Burmese generals fear outside attacks, so they are building these underground hiding places,” he said. Thailand is also watching closely Burma’s efforts to build its nuclear capacity.
These tunnels are equipped with underground facilities, including communications and strategic rooms, which would enable the Burmese leaders to survive any attack from their peoples and the outside world. Some tunnels are big enough for military and transport vehicles to go through. Sources also revealed that dozens of tunnels are also dug near the Thai-Burma border. They said the construction of these tunnels were disguised as part of the country’s plan to lay fibre optic cables throughout the country
Bertil wrote that a well-hidden complex ensures there is no danger of angry civilians storming government buildings as they did during the massive pro-democracy uprising in August-September 1988. It could also serve as their deep bunkers in case there are air strikes of the kind that the Taleban faced in Afghanistan.
According to the author, it is not clear how North Korean experts got paid. The payment could have been in the form of food or goods that Burma has. The country is rich in mineral wealth and agricultural products.