YANGON: The United States temporarily suspended travel for American officials to parts of Myanmar's Rakhine state, the US embassy said on Thursday (Nov 23), citing concerns over potential protests after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Myanmar of "ethnic cleansing" in the state.
On Wednesday Mr Tillerson used the term "ethnic cleansing" to describe the military operation against the Muslim minority, something he didn't do at a news conference alongside leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar last week.
"After a careful and thorough analysis of available facts, it is clear that the situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya," Mr Tillerson said in a statement. "No provocation can justify the horrendous atrocities that have ensued."
Mr Tillerson says those responsible for alleged abuses need to be held accountable and the US could follow up with targeted sanctions.
Washington is upping its rhetoric in part to pressurise Myanmar's leaders into dealing with the crisis.
Though analysts say it is likely to create more distrust between the two countries, and push Myanmar closer to China and Russia.