In Myanmar, Biden denounces the coup and “horrific violence.”

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In Myanmar, Biden denounces the coup and “horrific violence.”

At a meeting with ASEAN leaders on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden condemned Myanmar’s military takeover and “horrific violence,” according to the White House.

Biden “raised severe concerns about the military takeover and appalling violence in Burma,” according to a statement, and “called on the country’s military administration to immediately cease the violence, release those who have been wrongfully jailed, and restore Burma’s road to democracy.”

After its chairman was banned in response to the February power grab and following violent crackdown on dissent, Myanmar’s military administration boycotted the ASEAN meeting, which was hosted by Brunei.

After Biden’s public opening statements to the ASEAN meeting, in which he made a veiled allusion to opposing China but did not mention Myanmar, the White House issued a strongly worded statement.

Biden termed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations “vital” and said the US is “dedicated to ASEAN’s centrality,” speaking via video link from the White House.

Although the United States is not a member of the 10-nation group, it regards ASEAN as a key part of its plan to counter China’s growing diplomatic, commercial, and military presence in Asia.

Biden did not mention China directly, despite the fact that he has had two phone discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping since taking office and is organizing a virtual summit later this year.

His aim, though, was very obvious, as he referred to ASEAN “a lynchpin” in preserving a region “where every country can compete and flourish on an equal footing, and where all nations, no matter how great or powerful, follow the law.”

“The US-ASEAN cooperation is critical to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific, which has served as the bedrock of our shared security and prosperity for decades,” he said “Biden stated the following.

“The United States strongly supports ASEAN’s Indo-Pacific strategy and the international rules-based order.”

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