In Addition To Freezing Myanmar's Military Funds, The US Government Also Offered New Sanctions

- Mar 06, 2021-

[Global Times Special Correspondent Li Bingxin in Myanmar, Global Times Special Correspondent Wang Yi] Local media in Myanmar reported on the 5th that protests and demonstrations in Myanmar were still going on on the day. On the 4th, the United States announced trade sanctions against the Myanmar military. According to a Reuters report, the U.S. government has frozen indefinitely about $1 billion of funds held by the Myanmar military in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

   A "Global Times" reporter saw on the 5th in Yangon's Yinsheng District and near the Lai River Bridge that the protesters blocked the road since 8 o'clock in the morning, and no vehicles were allowed to pass. In Yinsheng District, the protesters even dug horizontal trenches on the main road to completely block the road, causing all social activities in the area to be interrupted. Needless to say, military vehicles have been unable to pass, and food supply related to the people’s livelihood and the transportation of daily necessities are also impossible. Talk about it. According to a Reuters report on the 5th, another gunshot was heard during a protest in Mandalay, the second largest city, and a demonstrator died. In addition, the northern city of Myitkyina, the capital Naypyidaw, and the southern city of Mawlamyine suffered massive power outages on the 5th. The reason is unclear.

According to Reuters exclusive news on the 5th, three sources, including a U.S. official, revealed that after the sudden political change on February 1, the Myanmar military tried to transfer about $1 billion held in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. funds. However, US government officials have frozen these funds indefinitely. According to reports, the transfer in the name of the Central Bank of Myanmar took place on February 4, but the Federal Reserve delayed the approval of the transaction for a week, waiting for the US President Biden’s sanctions to "give the green light" to freezing funds. Biden issued an executive order on February 11, clarifying the Central Bank of Myanmar as part of the Myanmar military government, allowing officials to freeze their funds in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indefinitely.

   In addition to freezing funds, the US government also offered new sanctions. On the 4th, the United States included the Myanmar Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Myanmar Economic Corporation and Myanmar Economic Holdings Co., Ltd., which are closely related to the military, on the list of economic and trade sanctions, which took effect on March 8. According to Reuters, the two sanctioned corporate groups involved fields such as beer, cigarettes, telecommunications, tires, mining and real estate. According to another report, EU officials also stated on the 4th that the EU has suspended support for Myanmar’s development projects to avoid providing financial assistance to the Myanmar military. In the past few years, EU assistance involved more than 200 million euros. In addition, on the 5th, the video social platform YouTube announced the deletion of 5 channels of the Myanmar military TV network operating on its platform.

  At the same time, the National Management Committee established by the Myanmar military issued an invitation to the chambers of commerce of relevant countries in Myanmar on the 5th to discuss how to strengthen cooperation in the future. The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, as well as the European Union Chamber of Commerce, have explicitly rejected this invitation.

   According to a report by Agence France-Presse on the 5th, the Burmese Embassy in the United States issued a statement condemning the military for "repression leading to the death of demonstrators" and calling on the authorities to "full restraint." A diplomat in the embassy has announced his resignation, and at least three other diplomats have posted on social media that they are joining the campaign against the military government.

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