President Joe Biden on Wednesday ordered new sanctions against the military regime in Myanmar, taking action after the military this month staged a coup in the Southeast Asian country and arrested de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior politicians.
Biden stated that the order is aimed at at preventing Myanmar’s generals from accessing $1 billion in assets in the United States.
He added that more measures are to come.
“The military must relinquish power it seized and demonstrate respect for the will of the people of Burma,” Biden said.
Biden said the new sanctions would allow his administration to freeze U.S. assets that benefit Myanmar’s military leaders while maintaining support for health care programs, civil society groups and other areas that benefit the country’s people. He said the administration planned to identify specific targets of the sanctions later this week.
“The people of Burma are making their voices heard, and the world is watching,” Biden said, using an alternate name for Myanmar.
“We’ll be ready to impose additional measures and we’ll continue to work with our international partners to urge other nations to join us in these efforts.”
Before Biden spoke from the White House, large crowds demonstrating against the military takeover again took to the streets in Myanmar, even after security forces ratcheted up the use of force against them and raided the headquarters of Suu Kyi’s political party.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters shortly before Biden’s announcement that “there’s certainly a recognition that this will need to be a coordinated effort” with the international community to press change in Myanmar.