WASHINGTON

US President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday opening the door for sanctions to be imposed on Myanmar’s military leaders responsible for the coup d’etat in the Asian nation.

Biden said sanctions would begin to be imposed this week, targeting military leaders who “directed the coup, their business interests, as well as their close family members.”

He said his administration has begun to take steps that will prevent the Tatmadaw’s generals “from improperly having access to the $1 billion in Burmese government funds held in the United States.”

“We’re freezing US assets that benefit the Burmese government while maintaining our support for healthcare, civil society groups, and other areas that benefit the people of Burma directly,” he said at the White House. The US government refers to the country of Myanmar as Burma.

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