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Myanmar Diplomat in US Seeks Asylum After Military Coup

The building housing Myanmar's embassy in Washington is seen in a photo published on the embassy's Facebook page.
The building housing Myanmar's embassy in Washington is seen in a photo published on the embassy's Facebook page.

A key diplomat in the Myanmar embassy in Washington said Thursday he is seeking asylum in the U.S. in protest of the military coup in his homeland.

Maung Maung Latt, a first secretary in the embassy, told VOA’s Burmese Service “I decided to seek asylum in this country because I cannot accept the illegitimate takeover of power by the military.”

“It is total injustice that I can’t stand,” he said, “and I am also concerned especially for the future of the younger generations of our country.”

Maung Maung Latt said that since President Joe Biden “gives priority to human rights, I hope they will grant me asylum,” although there was no immediate response from the U.S. government. The Myanmar envoy said he was “concerned about [his] safety at this moment.”

Maung Maung Latt said that “among the Myanmar diplomats around the world, there are those who welcome the coup and those who do not welcome it.” But he urged fellow diplomats “to join civil disobedience against the military.”

He said the military takeover “will cause serious damage and unthinkable disaster for the country, I’m afraid.”

Maung Maung Latt said he thinks that high-ranking civilian officials will be replaced by military officers.

Prior to his posting in Washington, Maung Maung Latt had served in the country’s embassies in Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand. He had been set to return to Myanmar in the next month and retire.

Myanmar’s military, the Tatmadaw, seized power Monday, declaring a yearlong state of emergency and detaining de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, among others.

The coup took place following days of tension between the military and the ruling National League for Democracy, which won the November elections. The Tatmadaw has refused to accept the results, alleging massive election fraud.

VOA's Burmese Service contributed to this story.

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