US slaps sanctions on two Myanmar conglomerates

The administration of US President Joe Biden has imposed sanctions against two Myanmar conglomerates over last month's military coup in the Asian country. It says the measures "specifically target the economic resources" of Myanmar's military.

The US Treasury Department said on Thursday that the two firms are Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited. It says they are "owned or controlled by the military or security forces" of Myanmar.

The Treasury says the sanctions include freezing the firms' properties in the US and banning their transactions with Americans.

It says Myanma Economic Holdings has business interests in banking, trade, logistics, construction, mining, and other sectors.

The Treasury says Myanmar Economic Corporation has businesses in mining, manufacturing, telecommunications, and other industries.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement describing the sanctions as the United States' "most significant action to date to impose costs on the military regime."

After the February 1 coup, Washington had implemented similar sanctions against current and former officials of the military as well as companies linked to it.

Britain also unveiled sanctions against Myanma Economic Holdings on Thursday.

Myanmar's military has been cracking down on demonstrators protesting the coup, with security forces opening fire on them. The US State Department says at least 275 people have been killed.