The US on Thursday characterized the situation as “troubling” in Myanmar where the military is staging a brutal crackdown after a Feb. 1 coup.
Speaking at a news conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said targeting journalists and dissidents is of great concern to US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“This issue has been raised broadly in virtually every diplomatic conversation that members of our team have. As you’re very familiar with the situation on the ground in Burma is troubling,” said Psaki.
She said the US is working closely with its partners in the region.
“We’ve taken sanction steps … to send a clear message that it’s unacceptable,” she added.
More than 50 people have been killed in protests in Myanmar since the junta took power, and the country saw its bloodiest day to date on Wednesday when the UN special envoy for the country reported 38 deaths.
The UN Security Council is set to convene a closed session on Friday, and the US urged member states to unite ahead of the meeting, though that seemed unlikely due to deep disagreements about the crisis.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who is the council’s president for March, said the military has “dramatically accelerated violence against the people of Burma,” describing the repression as “simply unacceptable.”
“This places a real importance on our efforts tomorrow. The people of Burma have stood firm for democracy,” she told reporters during a virtual press conference. “Our voices need to be equally firm, and they must be united in supporting the people of Burma.”
The US uses “Burma” to refer to Myanmar.