I have to say it is childish of the Burmese generals to dream about acquiring nuclear technology, since they can’t even provide regular electricity in Burma…

– Extracted from a wide-ranging interview with Thakhin Chan Tun, former Burmese Ambassador to North Korea: “Burma wants the bomb”, The Irrawaddy, 27 June 2009.

New Mandala readers who pay attention to such matters will already know that there has been recent analysis by some well-placed figures on the topic of the Burma-North Korea nuclear nexus. You can read tentative appraisals of this issue in pieces by Andrew Selth (February 2009 — he also wrote a longer report on Burmese nuclear ambitions in 2007) and Bertil Lintner (December 2008 and June 2009). Of course, commentary on this issue goes back years. A selection of earlier reporting takes us to July 2007, May 2004 and July 2001.

This week as a North Korean ship with a mysterious cargo apparently heads towards Yangon TIME explains “Why Burma may be North Korea’s best friend”. In that current analysis the nuclear issue lurks in the shadows.

Comments from readers are, as always, very welcome here.