Joseph R. Biden

Remarks on the Coup in Burma/Myanmar

delivered 10 February 2021

Audio AR-XE mp3 of Address


Thank you for being here on short notice. Im going to be very brief, but -- because the Vice President and I are heading over the Pentagon for an extensive briefing and to make some comments, as we did at the State Department. So Im going to be going from here to there, and youll get me there as well.

I want to say good afternoon, everyone. I wanted to give you an update on the latest regarding our response to the military coup in Burma.

As you know, the assault on Burmas transition to democracy remains an issue of deep bipartisan concern. Weve consulted at length, for example, with Senator McConnell, whos had a very keen interest in this, and his team. And we welcomed their helpful insights.

Weve also been in close contact with our allies and partners around the world, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, driving vigorous diplomatic outreach to help coordinate an international response to what happened.

A strong and unified message emerging from the United States has been essential, in our view, to encouraging other countries to join us in pressing for an immediate return to democracy.

Last week, the United States helped bring together the U.N. Security Council, which issued a strong statement in support of Burmese democracy. And this week, we will use our renewed engagement on the Human Rights Council to strengthen the worlds commitment to human rights in Burma.

Today, I again call on the Burmese military to immediately release the democratic political leaders and activists and -- that theyre now detaining, including Aung San Suu Kyi. And she is -- and also Win Myint, the President.

The military must relinquish the power it seized and demonstrate respect for the will of the people of Burma as expressed in their November 8th election.

So today, Im announcing a series -- a series of actions that were taking to begin imposing consequences on the leaders of the coup. The U.S. government is taking steps to prevent the generals from improperly having access to the 1 billion dollars in Burmese government funds held in the United States.

And today, Ive approved a new executive order -- excuse me [coughs] -- a new executive order enabling us to immediately sanction the military leaders who directed the coup, their business interests, as well as close family members.

We will identify a first round of targets this week. And were also going to impose strong export controls. And were freezing U.S. assets that benefit the Burmese government, while maintaining our support for healthcare, civil society groups, and other areas that benefit the people of Burma directly.

And, finally, as protests grow, violence against those asserting their democratic rights is unacceptable, and were going to keep calling it out. The people of Burma are making their voices heard. And the world is watching.

Well be ready to impose additional measures, and well continue to work with our international partners to urge other nations to join us in these efforts.

So I thank you all. I wanted to have that statement before I got in the vehicle to go out to the Pentagon. And Im sure Ill see some of you at the Pentagon. Thanks for coming over on such short notice.

Thank you.

Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

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