President Biden released a statement on Monday condemning the military coup in Myanmar, also known as Burma, and threatened to take action against those responsible.
Myanmar’s military seized power after claiming there was fraud in recent elections. The military detained senior political leaders, including Aung San Suu Ky, who served as the State Counsellor of Myanmar, the country’s de facto ruler.
In his statement, President Biden said the international community should come together and demand that Myanmar’s military “relinquish the power they have seized.”
“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,” the statement said.
Biden also threatened to reimpose sanctions on Myanmar. “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,” he said. The Obama administration started easing sanctions on Myanmar in 2011 and lifted all remaining sanctions in 2016.
Members of Congress are also calling for action. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NY) said the US and other countries “should impose strict economic sanctions, as well as other measures” against Myanmar’s military.
Senator Mitch McConnel (R-KY) called the situation in Myanmar “horrifying” and said the Biden Administration “must take a strong stand” against Myanmar’s military.
Since the Biden Administration is prioritizing Asia in its efforts to counter China, US media outlets are framing the events in Myanmar as a “test” for Biden to maintain US influence in that part of the world. For their part, China is taking a neutral stance on the situation in neighboring Myanmar.
“China is a friendly neighbor of Myanmar’s. We hope that all sides in Myanmar can appropriately handle their differences under the constitution and legal framework and safeguard political and social stability,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a news briefing on Monday.