Singapore cracks down on arms trade with Myanmar generals, tightening restrictions

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Singapore has responded to pressure from the United Nations by cracking down on weapons sales to Myanmar, dealing a blow to the military regime. The crackdown has significantly reduced exports of weapons materials to Myanmar, putting financial strain on the generals who seized power in a coup three years ago. Singapore’s actions have made it more difficult for the military to quell opposition and have forced them to resort to desperate measures like imposing a conscription law.

The report, The Billion Dollar Death Trade, revealed that Singapore-based firms were involved in transferring over $1bn worth of arms and materials to Myanmar’s ruling generals. Singapore has stated its opposition to the military’s use of lethal force against civilians and has taken steps to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar. The government has cooperated with investigations into the transfers and has cut off services to Myanmar-linked accounts in response to US sanctions.

The National Unity Government of Myanmar has praised Singapore’s intervention, highlighting the power that ASEAN members have to disrupt the military junta’s actions. The NUG has called on other ASEAN countries to help end the regime’s reign of terror and restore stability to the region. ASEAN has been divided on how to respond to the crisis in Myanmar, with some countries advocating for engagement while others, like Singapore, take a tougher stance.

As the military regime faces increasing pressure from anti-coup forces and international sanctions, concerns remain about dealers finding alternative shipping routes for arms. Activist groups have urged Singapore to do more to block the junta’s access to funds and equipment, including imposing sanctions on businesses associated with the regime. Meanwhile, the military regime in Myanmar has resorted to mandatory conscription amid battlefield losses and reports of desertions.

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