“A bad workman blames his tools” is perhaps the best expression to describe Min Aung Hlaing after his latest attempt to shift responsibility for the national disaster triggered by his shortsighted coup.
This time, it is the United States that the junta chief is pointing fingers at.
At a meeting of his regime’s governing body, the State Administration Council, on Thursday, the junta chief declared that Myanmar was a victim of the US containment policy against neighboring China.
The US had worked continuously to advance the interests of its preferred powerholder in Myanmar, he said, referring to the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government that he ousted in 2021.
Having failed, Washington is now working to incite unrest in Myanmar by using various excuses to aid terrorist organizations, he added.
The junta labels the civilian National Unity Government, and its People’s Defense Force armed wing, terrorist organizations.
He said the US had taken an aggressive approach to those that stand in the way of its desires, referring to Washington’s criticism and sanctions against the junta.
The US has called for the release of all political prisoners including jailed State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her government’s president U Win Myint, delivery of humanitarian aid to those affected by the fighting, and restoration of democracy in Myanmar.
However, the military regime has ignored all condemnation from the international community, even showing disregard for the five-point peace plan that it agreed with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by stepping up a terror campaign against its own civilians.
Washington has also passed the Burma Act, which pledges support for forces working toward federal democracy in Myanmar and authorizes cross-border humanitarian aid, targeted sanctions, and non-lethal support for armed resistance groups.
The Burma Act has yet to make an impact, but sanctions imposed on two state-owned banks, the Myanma Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB), and the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, the junta’s largest foreign currency earner, are already biting the cash-starved regime.
In supporting the civilian NUG and ethnic organizations fighting for autonomy, Washington has so far leveled sanctions against over 100 individuals and organizations with ties to the junta.
Min Aung Hlaing also complained of being shunned by fellow ASEAN countries, during Thursday’s meeting. Historically close friends had been unable to resist Washington’s influence and had imposed financial, trade and diplomatic sanctions against Myanmar, he lamented, referring to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) – the offshore bank of choice for Myanmar’s generals – has also cut ties with Myanmar’s banking system. Malaysia has called for “strong measures” against the ruling generals while ASEAN chair Indonesia has excluded them from the bloc’s summits.
The junta was seeking alternatives to banks and dollars for financial transactions, the regime boss told the meeting.
Min Aung Hlaing has previously complained that some countries use US dollars to “bully” smaller nations.
There is, of course, an easy way to gauge whether the US is in fact targeting his junta because of China.
If his regime were indeed crucial for China, Beijing would be doing all it can to court Min Aung Hlaing.
But instead, the junta chief was left off the invitation list when Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing earlier this month.
Source – The Irrawaddy