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Myanmar coup: US diplomat says junta must restore democracy
More than a year since seizing power from Myanmar’s elected government, the country remains in civil and political unrest from the crackdown by the military. With the shadow government and other militia groups fiercely resisting the junta, a senior US diplomat said the generals must restore democracy as they will likely not be able to defeat the opposition.
Speaking to Reuters and other news outlets Friday last week, US State Department counselor Derek Chollet said it is unlikely that the junta will be able to defeat those who have opposed their seizing of power and ousting of the elected government. Chollet explained that the junta regime is isolated both locally and internationally and must restore democracy.
“It’s hard to see today how they could realistically think they can win,” said Chollet. “They’re losing territory. Their military is taking serious losses.”
Chollet is visiting Thailand, Brunei, and Singapore to follow up after the US-ASEAN summit. Chollet also said Washington is also coordinating with the regional group and countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia regarding Myanmar aside from imposing sanctions on the junta and that he hopes China could also help in solving the unrest in Myanmar.
The generals seized power from Myanmar’s elected government in February of 2021, which was followed by mass protests opposing the coup. The military engaged in a brutal crackdown, killing hundreds and detaining thousands who opposed their regime. The junta has referred to the coup opponents as “terrorists.”
Previously, the junta criticized the condemnations by the US, the UN, and France for its move to proceed with the death sentences of two prominent coup opponents. According to the state-run news outlet the Global New Light of Myanmar, the junta-backed foreign ministry called the statements “irresponsible and reckless.”
The statement by the junta also called out France for referring to the military regime as “illegitimate.” The junta said the statements by the UN, the US, and France were “abetting terrorism” while accusing France of interfering in its affairs.
“The ministry protests and objects in the strongest terms to the irresponsible and reckless statements and remarks,” said the junta-backed ministry.