Myanmar has no ambition to become a nuclear power and reports that it is developing a nuclear programme with North Korean help are groundless, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement read on state television on Friday.
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), a Norwegian-based exile group opposed to Myanmar's military regime, said in a report last week Myanmar was trying to develop a secret nuclear programme with the intention of making an atomic bomb.
Accounts of suspected nuclear plans surfaced last year, but Myanmar has never confirmed or denied any nuclear ambitions. Some reports have suggested it had enlisted the help of nuclear-armed North Korea.
In a first reaction to the latest such reports, the Foreign Ministry accused dissidents of spreading false information, suggesting this might be an effort to scupper efforts by the United States in recent months to engage with the military regime.
"In the past few days, some international media reported the accusations that Myanmar is making attempts to develop a nuclear project with the intention of having nuclear weapons in cooperation with North Korea," the Foreign Ministry said.
"These are merely groundless and politically motivated accusations," it said, adding the claims were also aimed at disrupting the government's plans to hold elections later this year.
It said Myanmar once had a plan to build a 10-megawatt reactor for peaceful purposes with the assistance of Russia, but that was abandoned.
The ministry denied Myanmar had purchased weapons from North Korea. It had only imported cement from North Korea while North Korea had imported rice from Myanmar, it said.
DVB said that its five-year investigation showed that Myanmar, formerly Burma, was a long way from producing a nuclear weapon but had gone to great lengths to acquire the technology and expertise to do so.
ReutersLast Mod: 11 Haziran 2010, 21:40