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Singapore and US 'exchange views' on regional developments including situation in Myanmar: MFA

Singapore and US 'exchange views' on regional developments including situation in Myanmar: MFA

Protesters sitting on a road blocked by police in riot gear flash the three-fingered salute, a symbol of resistance, during a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, on Feb 9, 2021. (Photo: AP)

SINGAPORE: Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke via telephone on Wednesday (Feb 10), in which they discussed regional developments including the situation in Myanmar. 

The call came about a week after the military seized power in Myanmar in a coup against the democratically elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained along with other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in early morning raids.

Dr Balakrishnan congratulated Mr Blinken on his appointment, according to a press statement by Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the two "reaffirmed the excellent and longstanding relations between Singapore and the United States, and the strong and growing cooperation in defence and security, as well as in trade and investment".

"Minister Balakrishnan and Secretary Blinken also exchanged views on regional developments, including the situation in Myanmar," added MFA.

In a separate release by the US State Department, spokesman Ned Price said the two diplomats "expressed deep concern over the coup in Burma".

The two men also spoke about the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change - areas that they agreed to "closely collaborate" on, said MFA.

"Minister Balakrishnan welcomed the Biden Administration’s efforts to deepen engagement of the region and strengthen cooperation with ASEAN and other regional partners."

READ: Myanmar anti-coup protests resume despite bloodshed

MYANMAR COUP

On Feb 1, the day of the coup, MFA said it was closely monitoring the situation in Myanmar and that Singapore expressed "grave concern" about the situation. "(We) hope all parties involved will exercise restraint, maintain dialogue, and work towards a positive and peaceful outcome."

On the same day, the US warned of a response and said it would "take action". Washington formally determined the following day that Myanmar's military had carried out a coup. 

This means that under US law, Washington is forbidden from assisting the government, the effects of which are largely symbolic as almost all assistance in Myanmar goes to non-governmental channels.

Source: CNA/ac(hs)

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