On Sunday, President Joe Biden called this weekend’s carnage in Burma “absolutely intolerable” and did not rule out imposing more sanctions on the military junta that seized power at the beginning of February.
“It’s absolutely outrageous and based on the reporting I’ve gotten, an awful lot of people have been killed totally unnecessarily,” Biden told reporters on the presidential plane while returning to the White House after spending the weekend at his Delaware residence.
Asked whether he would respond with more sanctions on Burma’s (Myanmar) military leaders or have another type of reaction, Biden replied, “We’re working on that now.”
Saturday’s crackdown was the worst day of repression since the February coup, with between 90 and 113 people killed as soldiers and police fired on protesters in indiscriminate violence that killed at least six minors between the ages of 10 and 16.
The total death toll since the coup exceeds 460, in an atmosphere of terror in which uniformed soldiers shoot and torture unarmed civilians on a daily basis.
The United States and the European Union (EU) have roundly condemned the massacre and UN Secretary General António Guterres has called for a “firm, united and decisive international response.”
So far, however, China and Russia have used their veto power to prevent the UN Security Council from taking action against Burma.
In a highly unusual statement, the highest-ranking military commanders of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand also condemned Saturday what happened in the Asian country.
“A professional military must follow international standards of conduct and is responsible for protecting – not harming – the people it serves,” the defense chiefs of the 12 countries stressed.
The United States has already sanctioned in February the commander of the Burmese Army, General Min Aung Hlaing, who led the military uprising that led to the deposition of the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as nine other officers and several companies linked to the country’s Armed Forces.