Washington: Calling the military’s seizure of power in Myanmar a direct assault on its transition to democracy, US President Joe Biden on Monday threatened to slap new sanctions on the country after the junta detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and other political leaders.
According to media reports, an announcer on Myanmar’s military-owned Myawaddy TV declared on Monday morning that the military had taken control of the country for one year.
Myanmar’s leader Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party have been detained in an early morning raid, the spokesman for the governing National League for Democracy (NLD) was quoted as saying in the media.
The military’s seizure of power in Burma (Myanmar), the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian officials, and the declaration of a national state of emergency are a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law, Biden said in a statement.
Biden was briefed by his National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Sunday night.
“In a democracy, force should never seek to overrule the will of the people or attempt to erase the outcome of a credible election. For almost a decade, the people of Burma have been steadily working to establish elections, civilian governance, and the peaceful transfer of power. That progress should be respected,” he asserted.
Biden said the international community should come together in one voice to press Myanmar’s military to immediately relinquish the power they have seized, release the activists and officials they have detained, lift all telecommunications restrictions, and refrain from violence against civilians.
“The United States is taking note of those who stand with the people of Burma in this difficult hour, Biden said.
We will work with our partners throughout the region and the world to support the restoration of democracy and the rule of law, as well as to hold accountable those responsible for overturning Burma’s democratic transition, he said.
The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy. The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action, Biden said.
The United States will stand up for democracy wherever it is under attack, Biden asserted.