Washington: The second highest-ranking diplomat at Myanmar`s embassy in Washington has defected and is seeking US political asylum, Radio Free Asia has reported.
Kyaw Win, the embassy`s deputy chief of mission, told RFA that government of Myanmar has failed to begin a transition to democracy following elections in November, and that he fears "my life and those of my family are in danger”.
"Senior military officials are consolidating their grip on power and seeking to stamp out the voices of those seeking democracy," Kyaw Win, 59, told RFA.
Despite the elections "the military continues to hold uncontested power”, he said.
Kyaw Win is a career diplomat who has worked for Myanmar`s Foreign Ministry for 31 years, serving in Madrid, Geneva, New Delhi and Brasilia, according to RFA.
Kyaw Win also warned that government threats against democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi "must be taken seriously".
A source from Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy party has said she plans to travel outside the main city Yangon for the first time since being freed from seven years of house arrest last year, but politics was not on the agenda.
The issue is a major concern because during a previous political trip in 2003, her convoy was attacked in an ambush apparently organised by the military regime at that time.
Suu Kyi was freed in November, days after the country held an election that critics said was a charade aimed at hiding military rule behind a civilian facade.
Myanmar`s Army "has been corrupted" and has become "an oppressor of the people, not a defender of the people”, he told RFA.