China should use its influence to hold to account those responsible for the military coup in Myanmar, the United States State Department said on Wednesday, March 31, adding that the violence in the country was not in Beijing’s interests.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army ousted an elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, detaining her and reimposing military rule after a decade of tentative steps toward democracy.
At least 512 civilians have been killed in protests against the coup, 141 of them on Saturday, March 25, the bloodiest day so far, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group.
“We, of course, continue to call on China, on the government in Beijing, to use its influence to hold to account those responsible for this military coup,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a regular news briefing.
“What the junta has done in Burma is not in the interests of the United States. It’s not in the interests of our partners and allies, and it’s not in the interests of Beijing,” Price said.
China has traditionally been viewed with suspicion in Myanmar, where it has significant economic and strategic interests and has often backed Myanmar government positions against Western criticism.
While Western countries have strongly condemned the coup, China has been more cautious, emphasizing the importance of stability.
Some of the protests against the coup, at times drawing hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets, have taken place outside the Chinese embassy in Yangon, with protesters accusing Beijing of supporting the junta.
Beijing has dismissed social media rumors of Chinese involvement in the coup as nonsense.
The United States has imposed sanctions on members of Myanmar’s junta, including the chief of police, two military units and on conglomerates controlled by Myanmar’s military. – Rappler.com