Singapore: US Vice President Mike Pence delivered the Trump administration’s most high-profile criticism to date of the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, telling the country's civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, that state violence against the minority group was "without excuse", US news agencies reported.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore, briefly offering remarks to the press before talking in private.
The Rohingya Muslim minority group has been facing persecution at the hands of the state of Myanmar for decades. Last year, the U.N. termed the majority-Buddhist military’s attacks on the Rohingya a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing." More than half a million Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh in search of safety.
Pence said, “the violence and persecution by military and vigilantes that resulted in driving 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh is without excuse, I'm anxious to hear about the progress that you're making, holding those accountable who are responsible for the violence that displaced so many hundreds of thousands and created such suffering, including the loss of life.”
Also notable was the vice president's use of the term Rohingya, a label loathed by the Burmese.