Myanmar is reportedly developing SCUD ballistic missiles with the technical assistance of North Korean engineers.
Citing a source from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun reported Sunday that North Korean engineers are working alongside Myanmar's weapons developers at an underground facility near the city of Minbu in the Magway District to develop the weapon.
Sankei adds that Pyeongyang's assistance shows Myanmar's will to become a nuclear power, and it projects that this new development could have a significant impact on the balance of power in the region, as other countries there do not have such advanced weaponry.
The report follows an earlier one from the British newspaper Guardian, which cited WikiLeaks in December last year to reveal a US diplomatic cable that said North Korean engineers were seen in Minbu's surface to air missile assembly plants.
Myanmar's chief of the army also went to Pyeongyang in November 2008, visiting SCUD assembly plants and signing an agreement to expand the scope of cooperation between the two countries in weapons development.
The SCUD is a short range ballistic missile originally developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War to carry high explosive or nuclear warhead.
The South Korean defense ministry said last year that North Korea's SCUD missiles have a maximum range of 500 kilometers and a throw weight of 7-hundred to 1-thousand kilograms.
Kang Seok-ho, Arirang News.