President George W. Bush says the military rulers in Burma, led by Than Shwe and Maung Aye, "continue to defy the world's just demands to stop their vicious persecution. They continue to dismiss calls to begin peaceful dialogue aimed at national reconciliation. Most of all, they continue to reject the clear will of the Burmese people to live in freedom under leaders of their own choosing."
In response to continuing crackdown on democracy supporters, the United States has imposed additional sanctions on Burma's rulers and their associates. The U.S. Treasury Department has designated eleven more leaders of the Burmese junta for sanctions. They include Brigadier General Tin Naing Thein, Minister of Commerce, and Brigadier General Thein Zaw, Minister of Telecommunications. In September, the U.S. imposed sanctions on fourteen top leaders of the Burmese government, including Than Shwe and Maung Aye.
President Bush also issued a new executive order that designates an additional twelve individuals and entities for sanctions. This order grants the Treasury Department authority to designate for sanctions individuals responsible for human rights abuses, corruption, and those who provide support to these individuals or the government of Burma. In addition, the U.S. Commerce Department will tighten its export control regulations for Burma.
The European Union, Australia, and Japan have joined the U.S. in taking measures against Burma. Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia have spoken out against the atrocities. But more countries need to take action against the Burmese regime, said President Bush:
"I ask other countries to review their own laws and policies, especially Burma's closest neighbors -- China, India, and others in the region."
"The people of Burma, said Mr. Bush, "are showing great courage in the face of immense repression. They are appealing for our help. We must not turn a deaf ear to their cries. . . .I believe no nation can forever suppress its own people. And we are confident," he said, "that the day is coming when freedom's tide will reach the shores of Burma."