WASHINGTON—The U.S. will impose fresh sanctions against military leaders in Myanmar in response to the military coup there earlier this month, in what President Biden called the U.S.’s push for an “immediate return to democracy.”
“The military must relinquish power it seized and demonstrate respect for the will of the people of Burma as expressed in their Nov. 8 election,” Mr. Biden said Wednesday.
The president said he signed an executive order enabling the U.S. to impose sanctions on the military leaders who directed the takeover, as well as their family members and their business interests. The U.S. will announce the first rounds of sanctions targets this week, Mr. Biden said.
In addition, the U.S. is taking steps to prevent the military leaders of Myanmar from accessing about $1 billion in Burmese funds held in the U.S. by freezing those assets, Mr. Biden said.
In remarks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House on Wednesday, Mr. Biden called on the military to release activists and political leaders, including popular civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi of the National League for Democracy. Alluding to widespread protests, he said: “Violence against those asserting their democratic rights is unacceptable, and we’re going to keep calling it out.”