The US has “deep concerns” about the situation in Myanmar after February’s coup, urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take action, the State Department said Tuesday.
Myanmar has been in chaos and its economy paralyzed since the military ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government earlier this year, accusing it of fraud during 2020 elections.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “called on ASEAN to take joint action to urge the end of violence, the restoration of Burma’s democratic transition, and the release of all those unjustly detained,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement, using the country’s former name.
As well as expressing his “deep concern” about ASEAN member Myanmar, Blinken also pushed the bloc to put into place its five-point plan for Myanmar drafted in April, calling on ASEAN “to take immediate action to hold the Burmese regime accountable to the consensus and to appoint a special envoy,” said Price.
Earlier this month Washington imposed fresh sanctions on 22 people related to the military coup and subsequent attacks on the country’s pro-democracy movement.
Former leader Suu Kyi is now under house arrest while on trial for a raft of charges that could see her jailed for more than a decade.
Mass demonstrations against the takeover were met with violent repression around the country, which is also dealing with surging coronavirus infections.
More than 900 civilians have been killed by the junta’s forces, according to a local monitoring group.
The military has justified its actions as a means to protect democracy, alleging electoral fraud in November elections which Suu Kyi’s party won in a landslide.
Myanmar has been ruled almost continually by the army since 1962, just over a decade since independence from Britain.
It emerged from outright military rule in 2011, enacting economic and political reforms, including multi-party elections.