SINGAPORE (Reuters) – US Vice President Mike Pence expressed the tremendous condemnation of the Trump Administration as yet by Myanmar's…
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – US Vice President Mike Pence expressed the tremendous condemnation of the Trump Administration as yet by Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims on Wednesday, leader Aung San Suu Kyi said that “persecution” of her country’s army was “without excuse”.
Myanmar’s Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi and US Vice President Mike Pence hold a bilateral meeting in Singapore on November 1
4, 2018. REUTERS / Athit Perawongmetha
Pence also pressured Suu Kyi to apologize for two Reuters journalists arrested almost one a year ago and sentenced to seven years in prison in September to violate the law on official secrecy.
“The violence and persecution of the military and vigilantes which resulted in 700,000 Rohingya drove to Bangladesh is without excuse,” Pough told Suu Kyi in comments open to the media before entering private talks on the side of a summit between Asia Pacific in Singapore.
“I’m keen to hear the progress you make of keeping those responsible responsible for the violence that has shifted so many hundreds of thousands and created such suffering, including the loss of life,” he added.
The Myanmar Army launched a sweeping offensive in the northern state of Rakhine at the end of August last year, in response to Rohingya militant attacks. Myanmar denies persecuting members of the Muslim minority and says that its forces have carried out legitimate counterinsurgency operations.
Leader of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), who will meet Pence on Thursday, also said in a statement from the Singapore Presidency last Wednesday that they expect a commission of inquiry commissioned by the Myanmar government to “seek accountability through to conduct an independent and impartial investigation of the alleged human rights violations and related issues “in the Rakhine state.
The talks seemed to reflect a stronger line from the 10-member ASEAN Group, which traditionally works with consensus and unwilling to engage in issues considered internal to its members.
Suu Kyi, who was stoned to Pence as he spoke, answered him: “Of course, people have different angles of view but the point is that you are going to exchange these views and try to understand each other better.”
In one way, we can say that we understand our country better than any other country does, and I’m sure you’ll say the same that you understand your country better than anyone else, “she added.
The United States has accused the military of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya, which is largely rejected in the Buddhist majority of Myanmar.
U.N. mandate investigators have accused the military of releasing a campaign of assassination, rape and fire brigade with “genocide intention”.
Amnesty International returned this week’s most prestigious human rights prize from Suu Kyi and accused her of enforcing human rights violations by not mentioning violence against Rohingya.
After choosing to be a champion in the struggle for democracy, the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1991 has been discouraged by a series of international honors over the Rohingya exodus.
Neither Suu Kyi nor her office have commented publicly on Amnesty International’s decision.
Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay did not respond to calls that sought comments on Pence comments on Wednesday.
Pence also said Washington would see a free and democratic press in Myanmar and comment: “In America, we believe in our democratic institutions and ideals, including a free and independent press.”  White house officials told reporters after their closed door talks that he had pressed her “several times” to forgive the two sentenced Reuters journalists.
“They had a very sincere exchange of views on it,” said a senior official in the White House. He refused to elaborate.
Slideshow (5 Images)
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Reuters journalists, both Myanmar citizens, were arrested in Yangon in December of December. On November 5, their lawyers appealed against their conviction.
At the time of their arrest in December, they were working on a survey by Reuters about the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim villagers during an army raid in the Rakhine state. Reuters published its investigation of the massacre on February 8th.
Suu Kyi has said that the prison of the Reuters reporters had nothing to do with freedom of expression and that they were convicted, not because they were journalists but because they had broken the official secret law.
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