The US has voiced security concerns ahead of President Obama’s historic visit to Burma next week, a diplomatic source in Naypyitaw said, adding that the issue relates to North Korea.
The Burmese government has therefore allowed the US Secret Service to provide the president’s own security detail, which will be armed, the source said.
“To date, the US has not informed us where President Obama will stay,” the source said.
Obama will be the first US president to visit Burma. His trip comes after the US eased economic sanctions on Burma, and follows a flurry of official visits to the country by high-level US diplomats, including a landmark trip by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in November last year.
The White House has announced that Obama will visit Rangoon, but has not indicated whether he will make a stop in the capital, Naypyitaw.
According to unconfirmed sources, the US president will meet his Burmese counterpart, Thein Sein, as well as separate meetings with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and civic organizations.
According to a statement by the US Embassy in Rangoon, Obama will arrive at Rangoon’s Mingalardon Airport on the morning of Monday, November 19.
According to the diplomatic source, if the security concerns are considered serious, the US president’s visit may be cancelled.
In 1983, North Korea made an assassination attempt on the life of South Korea’s President Chun Doo-hwan during an official visit to Burma. A bomb was detonated at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum in Rangoon, killing 21 people, including South Korean government officials, while 46 were injured. One of the culprits later confessed that he was a North Korean military officer and that the attack had been ordered by Pyongyang.