Biden announces sanctions against military leaders involved in Myanmar coup
President Biden on Wednesday announced a series of steps in response to last week's military coup in Myanmar, including withholding "$1 billion in Burmese government funds" held in the U.S. and imposing sanctions against the military leaders behind the coup.
The big picture: These are the first sanctions announced by the Biden administration and are part of the president's efforts to re-emphasize democracy and human rights in American foreign policy.
The backstory: The coup came after Myanmar's ruling party, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won a landslide election victory and was set to consolidate its hold on the country's parliament.
- The military claimed the results were fraudulent, declared a national emergency, restored military control and detained top political leaders.
- In brief remarks from the White House on Wednesday, Biden reiterated his call for the immediate release of Suu Kyi and the others detained.
- He emphasized that the White House was coordinating its response with partners in Asia and members of Congress, including Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Details: Biden said his administration would freeze "U.S. assets that benefit the Burmese government" while keeping other aid to the country flowing. He also said the U.S. would impose export controls.
- Biden said he had signed an executive order allowing him to immediately sanction the military leaders behind the coup, with the targets to be named later this week.
- He said the penalties would apply to their business interests as well as to their close family members.
Driving the news: The coup has been followed by large protests that have come in spite of the military's efforts to disrupt the internet, block social media and ban mass gatherings.
- The UN on Tuesday denounced "disproportionate force" used against peaceful protesters.
What to watch: Biden said he was prepared to impose additional penalties and would "keep calling out" any violence against protesters.