Blinken Calls on China, ASEAN Countries to Hold Myanmar Accountable


BANGKOK: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday urged China and members of the Southeast Asian bloc ASEAN to put pressure on Myanmar's rulers to return to democracy and to hold it accountable to a peace deal agreed with the group.

"It is incumbent on China and in China's interest to see Burma move back to the path it was on," Blinken said, using the country's former name.

Speaking at a news conference in Bangkok during a tour of Asia, Blinken called on members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to hold Myanmar's government accountable to "five-point consensus" peace agreement.

"Regional support for the regime's adherence to the five point consensus developed by ASEAN is critical - that has not happened," Blinken said.

"The ASEAN countries need to hold the regime accountable for that ... continue to demand the cessation of violence and release of prisoners," he added.

ASEAN's nine members and Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing in April last year signed an agreement that included immediate cessation of violence and dialogue among all parties.

"There has been no positive movement on that."

Myanmar's military has increased pressure against ethnic minority armies since a coup last year and is encountering resistance on multiple fronts, including militia groups allied with the ousted government.

Last week, Thailand scrambled fighters after Myanmar jet breached its airspace in the country's northwest.

Myanmar shares a 2,400-km (1,500-mile) border with Thailand, its longest with any neighbour.