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Myanmar temple

Myanmar: a nonproliferation success story

By David Santoro

Myanmar has made a nonproliferation U-turn in recent years.

Once regarded as a pariah state with connections to North Korea and possible nuclear-weapon ambitions, it has completely changed course.

In the context of sweeping political and economic reforms that began in 2011, Myanmar has decided to abandon its nuclear research program, distance itself from North Korea and embrace the key instruments of the nonproliferation regime.

It isn’t finished, however, and key challenges to further progress loom on the horizon. The international community, particularly the US and other Western countries, has an opportunity to help Naypyidaw continue its efforts.

This paper examines Myanmar’s nuclear past and troubled approach to nonproliferation and its recent ‘change of heart’ about the nonproliferation regime, as well as future challenges, opportunities and prospects.