Blinken calls on Southeast Asian states to take action against Myanmar


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about the publication of the 2021 Congress report under the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act at the State Department in Washington, USA, July 12, 2021. Manuel Balce Ceneta / Pool via REUTERS

HANOI, July 14 (Reuters) – The United States has “deep concern” over the military coup in Myanmar and is calling on the Southeast Asian states to take steps to end violence and restore democracy in the country, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

The Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) has led the most important diplomatic efforts towards the member country Myanmar since a coup on February 1 threw it into turmoil.

During a video conference with ASEAN Foreign Ministers on Wednesday, Blinken urged ASEAN to take “immediate action” to appoint a five-point consensus agreed in April to appoint a special envoy for Myanmar, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ned Price said , in a statement.

Myanmar fell into chaos after the coup. Hundreds of protesters have been killed by security forces and thousands have been detained amid crippling strikes and growing conflict in border regions.

Blinken called for the release of all “unjust detainees” in the country and the restoration of democratic transition in Myanmar, Price said.

Blinken also emphasized the US rejection of China’s “illegal maritime claims” in the South China Sea, saying Washington “is on the side of Southeast Asian claimants in light of (Chinese) coercion,” Price said.

Reporting by James Pearson; Additional coverage from Shubham Kalia; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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