People of Myanmar fearful after crackdown, but is the end in sight for the generals?
The US has imposed economic sanctions against 14 senior Myanmar officials, including leader Than Shwe, and wants China, Myanmar’s ally, to use its influence to press the military rulers to end the repression.
But China and Russia say the situation in Myanmar is an internal affair and does not threaten international peace and security – a necessary condition for the council to take action.
China, which as a permanent member of the council can veto any resolution, has so far ruled out sanctions and refused to condemn the military government, calling for calm from all sides instead.
Critics say Beijing’s response has been inadequate.
Pressure on China
In Washington on Wednesday, US senators stepped up demands for tougher action against Myanmar, calling on the Bush administration to press China and India to sever ties with the country.
John Kerry, a Democrat, said as “the two biggest players” in Myanmar, China and India should not have the attitude of “it’d be bad for business to start siding with the pro-democracy forces”.
“China needs to make it clear that it’s unacceptable that those monasteries have been cleared of monks, that people have been loaded into trucks and driven off into God knows where,” he said.
“None of the neighbours seem to have much interest in applying the real pressure that would bring a change.”
A senior US diplomat said the White House was doing its best to press both the Asian giants along with Japan, to use their influence on Myanmar‘s military.
Scot Marciel, a deputy assistant secretary for East Asia, said: “We have been pressing and we will continue to press Beijing to do more.”
Myanmar‘s state-run media has admitted that 10 people died in the crackdown but foreign governments and dissident groups say they believe the toll runs into the hundreds.