US President Joe Biden on Monday threatened to reimpose sanctions on Myanmar following a coup by the country’s military leaders and called for a concerted international response to push them into relinquishing power.
Biden condemned the military’s takeover from the civilian-led government on Monday and its detention of the country’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi as “a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law”.
The crisis in Myanmar marks the first chief test of Biden’s pledge to collaborate more with allies on international challenges, especially on China’s rising influence, in contrast to predecessor Donald Trump’s “America First” approach.
The coup also brought rare policy alignment between Biden’s Democrats and top Republicans as they denounced the military takeover and called for consequences.
“The international community should come together in one voice to press the Burmese military to immediately relinquish the power they have seized, release the activists and officials they have detained,” Biden said in a statement.
“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.
Biden warned the US was “taking note of those who stand with the people of Burma in this difficult hour.”
“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.