The EU yesterday imposed sanctions on 10 Myanmar junta officials and two conglomerates linked to the military over the coup and bloody crackdown on protesters, European officials said.
"The military regime is continuing its course of violence and manoeuvring the country into a dead end. That is why we are increasing the pressure to bring the military to the negotiating table," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said after virtual talks with his EU counterparts.
"In addition to the listing of individuals, two economic conglomerates that are attributed to the military are also affected," he added.
European diplomats said the two firms hit with asset freezes and visa bans were the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) which dominate sectors including trading, alcohol, cigarettes and consumer goods.
The officials targeted are mostly members of the ruling State Administration Council seen as responsible for undermining the democracy in the southeast Asian nation, diplomats said.
Meanwhile, Japan urged Myanmar authorities yesterday to release from prison a Japanese journalist accused of spreading fake news, one of at least 65 reporters arrested during the junta's crackdown on anti-coup protests.
The EU measures -- which will go into force when they are published in the EU's official journal -- come after the bloc hit junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and 10 other senior officials with sanctions last month over the February 1 seizure of power and bloody suppression of protests.