The United States is urging China to do more to rein in Myanmar’s military after it executed four people. A senior U.S. official said that “it cannot be business as usual with the junta.”
The killings drew widespread international condemnation.
China has refused to make a statement about the killings. A longtime ally of Myanmar’s military, China has stayed silent despite international demand for a condemnation of the executions.
State department spokesperson Ned Price said at a briefing that China has the most potential to influence the trajectory of Myanmar’s next steps.
“Arguably, no country has the potential to influence the trajectory of Burma’s next steps more so than the PRC,” Price said, stating that the junta “has not faced the level of economic and in some cases diplomatic pressure that we would like to see.”
Price said there had already been discussions between the U.S., China and India on how to put Myanmar back onto a path towards democracy.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with activists from China and Myanmar earlier this month. Blinken voiced confidence that the killings would not hinder Myanmar’s movement towards democracy.
“The regime’s sham trials and these executions are blatant attempts to extinguish democracy. These actions will never suppress the spirit of the brave people of Burma,” Blinken said in a statement.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China “always upholds the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs.”
On Monday, Myanmar executed four prisoners including a former lawmaker who is a prominent democracy activist. It was the first use of capital punishment by the country in decades and has heightened concerns that there will be more death sentences to come.
Since there was a coup in February 2021, 76 prisoners have been sentenced to death, including two children.
The international community has turned to what can be done in order to prevent further atrocities. A joint statement by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, and South Korea called the killings “reprehensible acts of violence that further exemplify the regime’s disregard for human rights and the rule of law.”
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