Myanmar military chief says country needs nuclear program for medical, energy purposes

Myanmar's military chief says the country plans to use nuclear technology for medical, research and energy purposes but will not develop atomic weapons.

The brief comments carried in state media Saturday came a month after the government said it would declare any nuclear material in the country.

Vice Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing made the comments at the graduation ceremony for the military's Medical Academy.

He cited the need for more radiation equipment and research in the area of radioactive isotopes to treat cancer. He added, "The military will not develop nuclear technology to produce weapons of mass destruction."

There has long been speculation, bolstered by reports from defectors, that Myanmar may be secretly developing a nuclear program of some sort with the help of North Korea.