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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Burma sends envoy to North Korea
Shwedagon pagoda
Ties were cut after a bombing near Rangoon's Shwedagon pagoda
A senior Burmese diplomat is due to arrive in North Korea for the first official talks between the two nations since they restored ties in April.

Deputy Foreign Minister Kyaw Thu will visit Pyongyang for four days, according to reports from Burma.

The visit is considered to be a sign of improving diplomatic relations between the two countries, which cut ties in 1983 after a bomb attack in Rangoon.

Neither country has commented openly on reports of the visit.

Both the North Korean and Burmese regimes are known to be tight-lipped about their activities.

Restoring relations

Burma cut diplomatic ties with North Korea in 1983, after a bomb attack aimed at South Korea's then-President Chun Doo-hwan. Whilst Chun was unhurt, 17 other South Koreans and four Burmese officials were killed in the attack.

Map

Burma blamed the attack on North Korean commandos, and one agent is still held in Burma's Insein prison in Rangoon.

The two nations agreed to restore diplomatic relations in April this year.

North Korea can benefit from Burma's natural resources such as oil, gas and timber, while Burma's rulers are likely to want access to military equipment.

In the past, the United States has described both of the secretive regimes as "outposts of tyranny".

Burma's military junta has been criticised for cracking down on activists in recent protests against rising fuel prices.

North Korea had alarmed countries worldwide with its nuclear programme, which it has now agreed to dismantle.


SEE ALSO
Burma, North Korea restore ties
26 Apr 07 |  Asia-Pacific

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