Any Embassy Sales by Junta Would Be Illegal, Myanmar’s Shadow Govt Warns

By The Irrawaddy 15 September 2021

Amid reports that the Myanmar military junta seeks to sell the land housing the country’s embassy in Japan, the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) has warned that any sale, in part or in whole, of a Myanmar diplomatic mission by the “illegal” military regime would be unlawful.

NUG Minister of Planning, Finance and Investment U Tin Tun Naing told The Irrawaddy that the warning was issued after the shadow government received credible reports of the regime’s proposed sale of the site of the Myanmar Embassy in Tokyo.

A part of the Myanmar Embassy’s land in Tokyo was sold off under the former military regime. According to press reports at the time, the then regime sold 60 percent of the embassy grounds, netting it about US$234 million.

The Irrawaddy contacted the embassy in Tokyo for comment but embassy officials weren’t available.

While details of the proposed sale are not yet known, the plan shows that the regime is increasingly desperate for hard currency. The country’s economy has been in freefall since the coup with new investment drying up, the withdrawal of existing investment and the halting of key international-backed infrastructure projects, as Western countries sanction the military regime amid its forces’ brutal killing of more than 1,000 peaceful protesters, activists and youths.

Myanmar people are also refusing to pay commercial and income taxes and have stopped buying lottery tickets as they continue their boycott campaign to reduce the regime’s revenue and deny it legitimacy.

“As they are in dire need of foreign currency, it is likely they are plotting to sell embassy land in other countries as well,” U Tin Tun Naing said. This fear prompted his ministry to issue its announcement, he said.

The announcement states that the illegal military regime’s governing body as well as its subsidiary institutions and organizations have no right to control, manage or dispose of the public estate and thus any sale of the sites of the country’s diplomatic missions is “prohibited”.

Either the seller or the purchaser, or both, partaking in any such prohibited transaction will be prosecuted at a time and jurisdiction of the NUG’s choosing, the announcement added.

The NUG said it will follow up with relevant authorities in the host countries of Myanmar diplomatic missions to preclude unlawful transactions prohibited by the announcement.

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