THE second highest-ranking diplomat at the Burmese embassy in Washington has defected, just three months after the formation of a new military-backed government that promised to usher in democratic reforms.
In a letter addressed to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kyaw Win, the deputy chief of mission at the embassy, said he was seeking asylum because he had been “deemed dangerous” by the new regime for suggesting “actions to improve bilateral relations between Burma and the US.”
He also dismissed suggestions that the new government, formed after an election held last November, was trying to move the country closer to democracy.
“Senior military officials are consolidating their grip on power and seeking to stamp out the voices of those seeking democracy,” wrote Kyaw Win in the letter, adding that recent fighting between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army near the border with China made this obvious.
He also warned that threats made by the Burmese government regarding pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now visiting the ancient city of Pagan in Upper Burma, “must be taken seriously.”
Kyaw Win, 59, is a career diplomat who has worked for the Burmese Foreign Ministry for 31 years, with postings in Madrid, Geneva, New Delhi, Brasilia and Washington. He has been serving in his current post at the Burmese embassy in Washington since 2008. Read full story at The Irrawaddy