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The Burmese military launched a military coup on February 2 and detained many leaders of the National League for Democracy including Aung San Suu Kyi, which caused an uproar in the world.The US government quickly issued a statement expressing its concern over this situation.However, some public opinion believes that it is precisely because the United States and other Western countries have criticized Aung San Suu Kyi too much and not supported enough in the past few years that gave the military an opportunity.At the same time, some experts believe that the Myanmar coup provides an opportunity for China to increase its influence.
The Myanmar military coup took place on the morning of February 2st, which coincided with the evening of January 1st (Sunday) Eastern Time in the United States.Nevertheless, the White House and the State Department responded quickly.
In the evening, the two government departments successively issued statements calling on the Myanmar military to cancel the current military operations and release the detained democratically elected government leaders.
The White House statement went further, stressing that if the Myanmar military does not revoke this action, it will take action to hold relevant parties accountable.
The new U.S. President Biden issued a statement at noon on February 2, stating that the U.S. has lifted sanctions on Myanmar because of Myanmar’s progress in democratization; if Myanmar’s current situation does not improve, the U.S. will reconsider Sanctions in Myanmar.
How the U.S. responded to the Myanmar crisis
During the Obama administration, Derek (Derek), who was the head of the U.S. government's diplomatic mission in Myanmar (ambassadorial level)
Mitchell revealed to this station, “The sanctions that the US government can consider mainly include military and economic measures. I think they should weigh these different options now. The primary goal I think should be direct against this incident. The responsible person."
The Biden administration has just been in power for more than ten days, and the Myanmar coup seems to be its first official diplomatic test.
But this coup did not seem sudden.Last Tuesday (January 1), Myanmar’s military spokesman Zaw Min
Tun) once again publicly expressed dissatisfaction with the results of the parliamentary election in November last year and threatened that if the irregularities in the election are not resolved, the use of military coups will not be ruled out.
Facing the signs of a coup d’état, the US mission in Myanmar issued a joint statement with XNUMX other countries last Friday to urge the Myanmar military to abide by democratic rules and oppose any attempt to change the results of democratic elections.
Judging from the current situation, the main reason for the military coup in Myanmar is the military's dissatisfaction with the election results.
In this controversial election, the National League for Democracy headed by Aung San Suu Kyi won a big victory, winning 498 seats from the 396 seats open for election in both houses of parliament.The Union Solidarity and Development Party, which represents the military forces, only won 33 seats, a further drop from the seats they won in the first parliamentary democratic election in 2015.
Although according to Myanmar’s current constitution, the military still retains 25% of the parliament’s seats, after the election results were released, the military immediately accused the election of fraud. A total of 860 million ballots were suspected of false or fraudulent votes. The election committee was required to announce the election. invalid.
But the Election Committee argued that even if there may be errors in the ballots, it does not constitute widespread fraud.The conflicts between the two sides gradually accumulated in the following three months, until a military coup broke out.
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (left) and two military generals (Associated Press)
After the coup, some public opinion believed that the democratically elected government of Myanmar was so vulnerable because of the lack of support from the West.
During the Rohingya refugee crisis in 2017, Aung San Suu Kyi, as the actual ruler of the democratically elected government of Myanmar, supported the military's repression of the country’s ethnic minority Rohingya; and, in the past 5 years, Aung San Suu Kyi During her time in power, she did not actively seek power from the military for the elected government. Even under the leadership of her government, nearly 200 journalists and dissidents were persecuted by the government.
As a result, Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticized by Western governments and the media.Aung San Suu Kyi was revoked by Amnesty International as an "ambassador of conscience", and the Union of Sakharov Prize Laureates delisted her. There are even rumors that the Nobel Peace Prize she won in 1991 may be possible. got canceled.
Debra Eisenman, an expert on Myanmar issues at the Asian Association of American Think Tanks
Eisenman) observed that on the one hand, the West was criticizing the authoritarian style of Aung San Suu Kyi's government, and on the other hand, it was still calling for support for the democratic forces in Myanmar.
But she also believes that the previous U.S. government did not give enough support to the democratically elected government of Myanmar. "In the past four years, the U.S. seems to have deviated from the trajectory they left in Asia. The foundation laid by the Obama administration, Trump has Throw it away. This has caused many authoritarian forces to regain power. Our own populist government has left a vacuum in Asian democracy because of its internal problems."
Midway analyzed that it is difficult to attribute the responsibility to the failure of the United States to provide sufficient support to the democratically elected government of Myanmar. "But it is true that during the Trump administration, it did not pay enough attention to Myanmar. This really brought us. Loss. We have had a good relationship with Myanmar in the past, and we are also capable of taking actions when a crisis is brewing, and bring better results through our government’s local office. I hope we can re-establish good communication with Myanmar, But it may be a little difficult in this situation."
On February 2021, 2, the Myanmar military launched a coup and arrested senior officials of the Democratic League including Aung San Suu Kyi and the current government of Myanmar. (Associated Press)
Another battlefield for the US-China contest
While the US government issued successive statements, the Chinese government, Myanmar's close neighbor and long-term ally, showed a calm attitude towards the military coup in Myanmar.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference on February 2, “We have noticed what happened in Myanmar and are learning more about the situation. China is a friendly neighbor of Myanmar. We hope that all parties in Myanmar will follow the constitution and legal framework. We will properly handle differences and maintain political and social stability."
However, China's intentions for Myanmar will obviously not be so simple on the surface.Last January, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Myanmar historically; earlier this month, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Myanmar again.
The outside world generally believes that China also maintains a good relationship with the Myanmar military, and China's increasing influence in Myanmar in recent years has also aroused the vigilance of the Western world.
The American "Diplomat" magazine published an article the previous year criticizing that the United States and its allies lacked interaction with Myanmar in all aspects, and China's influence would be harmful to Myanmar's democracy.
Midway also believes that the Burmese crisis may create opportunities for the Chinese government. “China and the military government have never had problems. They don’t care about democracy, they don’t care what people say, and they don’t care about the sovereignty of any country. They only care about protecting themselves. When there is a military government, it is not good for Western countries competing with China, but China can just fill the gap."
He emphasized that in Myanmar now, it is not more appropriate to say that the United States competes with China for influence, but that China may increase their influence as a result.
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