Following a weekend of violence against pro-democracy demonstrators and the deadliest day since the military seized power in a February 1 coup, the Biden administration declared the termination of all trade ties with Myanmar on Monday.
According to a statement from the US Trade Representative’s office, the suspension “will remain in place until the return of a freely elected government.”
On Saturday, more than 100 civilians, including children, were killed in protests across Myanmar against the military coup, triggering international condemnation.
The violence was described as “terrible” and “completely outrageous” by Vice President Joe Biden.
“Based on the news that I received, an awful lot of people have been killed completely unnecessarily,” Biden told reporters as he returned to Washington on Sunday in Delaware.
“We’re working on that now,” Biden said when asked about the US response to the alleged atrocities.
The trade ban, which was confirmed on Monday, will go into effect “immediately.”
In a statement, Tai said, “The United States supports the people of Burma in their efforts to restore a democratically elected government, which has been the base of Burma’s economic growth and change.”
Tai went on, “The United States strongly condemns the horrific brutality perpetrated by Burmese security forces against civilians. The international community has been shocked by the killings of peaceful protesters, teachers, staff, labor leaders, medics, and children. These actions are a direct attack on the country’s democratic transition and the Burmese people’s attempts to achieve a stable and prosperous future.”
More airstrikes were carried out by Myanmar’s ruling military on Sunday, according to the Karen National Union (KNU), the armed ethnic group that dominates Myanmar’s southeastern region. Military jets killed at least two members of the KNU militia in a bombing raid near the Thai border on Saturday, and several civilians fled across the border. CNN’s request for comment on the airstrikes was not replied to by the US State Department.
Myanmar’s chief of police, Than Hlaing, and its Bureau of Special Operations commander, Lt. Gen. Aung Soe, as well as two army units, were named by Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week for “being responsible for or involved in, or having directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, acts or policies that forbid, l
After arguing that the November 8 elections, which were decisively won by political leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s faction, the National League for Democracy, were tainted by fraud, the military seized power. The military replaced the country’s election commission after it rejected the assertion.
The coup ushers in a return to military rule, which suffocated Myanmar for decades until a small democratic opening in 2010. The military has reacted with increased brutality and attempts to stifle communications as people have taken to the streets to protect their electoral system with strikes and demonstrations.
Entry to the internet has been blocked, journalists have been imprisoned, and some newspapers have been refused permission to print.