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Myanmar Crisis

Myanmar junta shamed by foreign defense chiefs over civilian deaths

Joint condemnation pushes military further into Beijing's arms

Mourners attend the funeral of Kyaw Win Maung, who was shot and killed during a protest against the military coup, in Mandalay on March 28.   © Reuters

BANGKOK/YANGON -- Among all the international condemnations of the Myanmar military and its actions since the Feb. 1 coup, a statement by the defense chiefs of Japan, South Korea and 10 other countries was one of the shortest but may have hurt junta chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing the most.

The statement, drafted via an exhaustive consultation process led by the U.S. Department of Defense and its Hawaii-based Indo-Pacific Command, aimed to "speak to the military in their own language," said a Yangon-based diplomat with knowledge of the talks. The move by such a large group of defense chiefs was unprecedented, he said, and came in response to growing alarm among Western-allied military organizations at the brazen targeting of unarmed civilian protesters and blatant human rights violations.

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