Treasury Targets Burmese Official

Thein Htay, head of Myanmar’s Directorate of Defense Industries. Associated Press
Samuel Rubenfeld
Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Treasury Department said Tuesday that a Burmese military official is still dealing weapons with North Korea despite the country’s efforts to sever the trade.

Lt. General Thein Htay, who heads Myanmar’s Directorate of Defense Industries, was placed under sanctions for his involvement in the trade of North Korean arms to Burma, Treasury said.

The directorate was placed under sanctions in July 2012 over its engagement with North Korea, with whom it has a memo of understanding to provide assistance to Myanmar to build medium-range, liquid-fueled ballistic missiles.

“Thein Htay has disregarded international requirements to stop purchasing military goods from North Korea, the revenues from which directly support North Korea’s illicit activities,” said David Cohen, undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a statement.

The statement noted the Myanmar government’s efforts to distance itself from the arms trade with North Korea. In November 2012, it publicly announced an intention to abide by a United Nations Security Council Resolution that barred procurement of military goods and assistance from Pyongyang, Treasury said.

Despite significant problems with ethnic violence, Myanmar has been largely welcomed back into the international community following reforms it made such as holding elections, freeing its press and allowing the forming of unions.

The U.S. has eased sanctions on Myanmar over the past year, though there are still compliance requirements: Any U.S. legal person engaging in investment in Myanmar that totals more than $500,000 will have to report annually to the State Department on their investment. The first reports were due Monday.

Separately, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a list on Tuesday of Iranian entities subject to “secondary sanctions” under an executive order that went into effect Monday.

The list, which tracked changes to the OFAC blacklists since January, “is designed as a reference tool…to assist the public in complying with the various sanctions programs administered by OFAC,” it said.

“These sanctions will expose individuals, financial institutions or businesses around the world providing support to these Iranian entities to sanctions by the Treasury Department,” said John Sullivan, a Treasury spokesman, in an email.

Write to Samuel Rubenfeld at Follow him on Twitter at @srubenfeld.
Share this article :
Myanmar News Now: Copyright © 2013. Thit Htoo Lwin News - All Rights Reserved
Myanmar online advertising by myOpenware