WASHINGTON: The United States led governments around the world in calling for the restoration of Myanmar’s democracy after the military staged a coup, arresting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians.
The United States “will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed”, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
She added that the US opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of the November elections, which handed Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) an overwhelming landslide but sparked allegations of vote irregularities by the routed military-backed party.
Newly appointed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called on Myanmar’s military “to release all government officials and civil society leaders and respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8.”
Before the coup, Washington, alongside several other Western nations, had urged the military to “adhere to democractic norms” in a January 29 statement that came as the commander-in-chief threatened to revoke the country’s constitution.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the coup and Suu Kyi’s imprisonment.”The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released,” he tweeted.
I condemn the coup and unlawful imprisonment of civilians, including Aung San Suu Kyi, in Myanmar. The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 1, 2021
China, which regularly opposes UN intervention in Myanmar, called for all sides to “resolve differences.” “China is a friendly neighbour of Myanmar and hopes the various parties in Myanmar will appropriately resolve their differences under the constitutional and legal framework to protect political and social stability,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “strongly” condemned the military’s detention of Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other leaders.
“These developments represent a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
Japan urged Myanmar’s military to free Suu Kyi and to restore democracy. “We request the release of stakeholders including state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi who was detained today,” Japan’s foreign ministry said in a statement urging “the national army to quickly restore the democratic political system in Myanmar.”
European Council President Charles Michel strongly condemned the coup. “The outcome of the elections has to be respected and democratic process needs to be restored,” the former Belgian prime minister tweeted.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne called on the call on “the military to respect the rule of law, to resolve disputes through lawful mechanisms and to release immediately all civilian leaders and others who have been detained unlawfully,”
Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “grave concern about the latest situation in Myanmar,” adding hopes that all parties would “exercise restraint.”
Indonesia’s foreign minister likewise expressed “concern” while also urging “self-restraint” but Philippine presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the situation is an “internal matter.”
Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations Bob Rae tweeted that Myanmar’s military “wrote the Constitution this way so they could do this.”
“The Constitution of 2008 was specifically designed to ensure military power was deeply entrenched and protected,” he said.