• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday voiced grave concerns over the situation in Myanmar, where security forces continue their violent crackdown on protestors against February’s military coup, in phone talks with his Laotian counterpart Phankham Viphavanh.

Suga vowed to continue pushing Myanmar’s military to immediately stop using force on civilians, release ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other detained individuals, and promptly restore democratic political order, the Foreign Ministry said.

Praising efforts by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations toward improving the situation, Suga told Phankham that he looked forward to Laos, which shares its northwestern border with Myanmar, playing its part.

At least 581 protestors and bystanders have been killed in Myanmar since the Feb. 1 military coup, with 2,750 detained as of Tuesday, according to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a human rights organization.

Suga and Phankham affirmed an action plan to advance the “strategic partnership” between their countries, with Japan pledging roughly ¥200 million yen ($1.8 million) in aid to set up cold chain facilities in Laos to store COVID-19 vaccines and promising to support improvements to international airports, the ministry said.

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