Biden warns of possible sanctions following Myanmar coup

Feb 02 , 2021. 5 hours ago – 05:46 KYODO NEWS

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on American manufacturing before signing an executive order related to American manufacturing and American workers, in Washington on Jan. 25, 2021. (UPI/Kyodo)

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday slammed Myanmar’s coup by the military as a “direct assault” on the Southeast Asian county’s democratic transition and warned of possible sanctions.

Noting that Washington removed sanctions on Myanmar over the past decade based on progress toward democracy, the new U.S. president who took office last month said the reversal of the democratic transition will “necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action.”

Biden’s statement was the latest in a series of messages from the administration as Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup on Monday and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other government leaders, blocking the country’s democratization less than a decade after its transition to civilian rule.

The handling of the Myanmar situation will be closely watched as Biden seeks to revitalize U.S. standing as a beacon of human rights and democracy, after his predecessor Donald Trump showed little interest in pursuing the traditional role the country has held.

The international community should come together in “one voice” to press the Myanmar military to immediately relinquish the power it has seized and release the detained activists and officials, Biden said in the statement.

He also said the United States will work with its partners throughout the region and the world to support the restoration of democracy and to “hold accountable those responsible for overturning” Myanmar’s democratic transition.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press conference that the United States has had “intensive consultations at multiple levels with allies and partners in the region and around the world” on the Myanmar issue, but did not elaborate.

The Myanmar military, which directly ruled the country from 1962 to 2011, announced on Monday a state of emergency to extend for one year and that the military chief will lead during the period, sparking international condemnation.