West condemns coup, China’s response is muted


UN Secretary-General calls the move a ‘serious blow to democratic reforms’, seeks release of leaders.

The United Nations led condemnation of Myanmar’s military on Monday after it seized power, calling for the release of elected leaders, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the developments were a “serious blow to democratic reforms” and urged all leaders to refrain from violence and respect human rights, a U.N. spokesman said.

 

The U.S., Britain, Australia and the EU condemned the military’s coup and detentions and its declaration of a state of emergency. The Army said it had taken action in response to “election fraud”.

China’s response, however, was more muted.

“China is a friendly neighbour of Myanmar’s. We hope that all sides in Myanmar can appropriately handle their differences under the Constitution and legal framework and safeguard political and social stability,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

U.S. President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation, the White House said.

“We call on Burmese military leaders to release all government officials and civil society leaders and respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on Nov. 8,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Restore democracy

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also condemned the coup. “The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released,” he said on Twitter.

 

Japan said it opposed any reversal of the democratic process in Myanmar. “We strongly call on the military government to restore democracy as soon as possible,” said a Foreign Ministry statement.

The head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of all those detained.

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