WASHINGTON: The United States (US) has expressed its concern over the military coup in Myanmar to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ambassadors in Washington, the White House said in a statement on Thursday (Feb 4).
US national security advisor Jake Sullivan expressed President Joe Biden’s “deep concern” over the coup in a call with the ambassadors on Wednesday evening, the statement said.
In the call, Sullivan also expressed appreciation for “ASEAN nations’ attention to this crisis”, and the importance of regional support for the “immediate restoration of Burmese democracy”, the statement said.
ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member, earlier this week said it had been watching developments there closely.
Myanmar’s military on Monday seized power in a coup against the democratically elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, alleging voter fraud during the elections in November.
The military has declared a one-year state of emergency and said it will hold new elections once its allegations are addressed.
In the call on Wednesday, Mr Sullivan also underscored the administration’s commitment to expanding US engagement with ASEAN, the statement added.
Mr Sullivan and the ASEAN ambassadors discussed opportunities for enhanced cooperation on combating climate change, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting economic recovery, advancing maritime security, encouraging people-to-people ties, as well as the importance of ASEAN centrality.
On its part, ASEAN’s current chair Brunei on Monday called for dialogue among parties, reconciliation and the “return to normalcy”.
In an ASEAN chairman’s statement, Brunei said: “We encourage the pursuance of dialogue, reconciliation and the return to normalcy in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar.”
“We reiterate that the political stability in ASEAN Member States is essential to achieving a peaceful, stable and prosperous ASEAN Community.”