Asia Politics

‘Coup must fail’: Myanmar’s U.N. envoy pleads for tougher sanctions against the military

Key Points
  • Kyaw Moe Tun, Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations, has pleaded for tougher and coordinated actions from the international community to end the military coup in his country.
  • The coup triggered mass protests across the country that security forces have tried to suppress using increasingly violent tactics.
  • Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. said his country has demanded for the "status quo" in Myanmar to be restored.
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Myanmar's UN envoy calls for tougher international sanctions against military

Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, has pleaded for tougher actions and sanctions from the international community to end the military coup in his country.

"Targeted sanctions are useful ... that is why we keep asking the international community to impose targeted sanctions on military regime — not only institution, but also their companies and their individuals," Kyaw Moe Tun told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Friday.

"At this point, maybe it's difficult for the U.N., especially U.N. Security Council. But if we can get that kind of sanctions — targeted sanctions — imposed (by) members or countries, like a group of like-minded countries, that will be helpful for putting pressure on military regime," he said.

Protesters took to the streets of Yangon to protest against the military coup and demanded the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Theint Mon Soe | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Myanmar's military seized power last month and detained elected leaders including Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, claiming that the election held in November was fraudulent.

The coup triggered mass protests across the country that security forces have tried to suppress using increasingly violent tactics. Hundreds have been killed and thousands of people have been arrested, reported Reuters.

International response

Western countries have condemned the coup and called for the violence to stop. Countries including the U.S. and the U.K. have imposed sanctions on the military, while the European Union is reportedly preparing similar measures of its own.

Myanmar's neighbors in Southeast Asia earlier this month called on "all parties to refrain from instigating further violence" and to seek "a peaceful solution."

Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. told CNBC his country has demanded that things in Myanmar be restored to what they were before.

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Myanmar military must restore 'status quo,' says Philippine foreign secretary

"I demanded that to get any kind of normal relations within ASEAN, as far as the Philippines was concerned, that the status quo ante — army, Suu Kyi and the people moving towards democracy — be restored exactly as it is," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Friday.

ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and Myanmar is one of the member states. The association has a non-interference doctrine in its members' national affairs — a policy that some observers have criticized, saying that it hinders ASEAN's effectiveness in resolving issues, such as the Rohingya crisis.

On the ongoing coup in Myanmar, Locsin said: "I would not countenance the use of that principle to cover up for abuses by the army against its own people that it is sworn to protect."

'Time is of essence'

Kyaw Moe Tun, Myanmar's U.N. envoy, was himself targeted by the military junta back home.

He was fired by the military after he urged countries at the U.N. General Assembly to use "any means necessary" to reverse the coup, reported Reuters. The junta appointed its own ambassador to the U.N., who later resigned, the news agency said.   

We want to prevent any kind of civil war in Myanmar, so that is why we keep asking (for) the help from the international community to protect the people of Myanmar and out pressure on military regime to change their behavior.
Kyaw Moe Tun
Myanmar's U.N. envoy

Kyaw Moe Tun repeated his plea during his interview with CNBC on Friday, saying that "time is of essence for the people of Myanmar."

"We want to prevent any kind of civil war in Myanmar, so that is why we keep asking (for) the help from the international community to protect the people of Myanmar and out pressure on military regime to change their behavior," he said.

"Military coup must fail, democracy must prevail in Myanmar."