BANGKOK—US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday called on Southeast Asian nations to hold Myanmar’s junta to account and said China shared an interest in restoring democracy.
“We will continue to look for ways that we can, and other countries can, effectively put pressure on them to move back to the democratic path,” Blinken told reporters in Bangkok after meeting democracy activists from Myanmar.
“I think all the ASEAN countries need to hold the regime accountable,” Blinken said.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in April last year reached a “five-point consensus” with Myanmar’s junta, which seized power two months earlier. The consensus included calls for dialogue with the opposition.
Blinken declined to criticize a recent visit to Myanmar by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, whom the top US diplomat saw Saturday in Bali, but called on Beijing to support international calls for democracy.
“I think it’s also incumbent upon China and in China’s interest to see Burma move back to the path that it was on that it was so violently disrupted from by the coup,” Blinken said, using Myanmar’s former name.
Blinken vowed to keep a spotlight on Myanmar but acknowledged there had been no results from the US strategy, which has included sanctions on the junta.
“It’s unfortunately safe to say that we’ve seen no positive movement and on the contrary, we continue to see the repression of the Burmese people,” Blinken said.
“We continue to see violence perpetrated on by the regime, we continue to see virtually the entire opposition in jail or in exile, and we continue to see a terrible humanitarian situation.”