Washington: The Deputy Chief of Mission at the Myanmar Embassy in Washington, who had previously served in New Delhi, has defected and is now seeking political asylum in the United States saying he fears for his life back home, a media report said on Monday.

Deputy Chief of Mission Kyaw Win said he made the decision to leave the Myanmar government because he saw little hope for the country's future and also he fears that "his life and those of his family were in danger."

Kyaw Win said that after Myanmar held historic elections last November, he expected the government to begin a transition to democracy.

Instead, he said nothing has changed and the military continues to hold uncontested power.

"Senior military officials are consolidating their grip on power and seeking to stamp out the voices of those seeking democracy," the diplomat said, adding that war with the country's ethnic groups is imminent.

Recent fighting between government troops and the ethnic Kachin army near the border with China has escalated, forcing thousands of refugees to flee the conflict zone.

He also warned of threats made by Myanmar government against Nobel laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which he said, "must be taken seriously".

Kyaw Win is a career diplomat who has worked for the Burmese Foreign Ministry for 31 years, a press statement released. During this time, he served in Madrid, Geneva, New Delhi, Brasilia, and Washington.

But now, he says, the army of Burma's late national hero and father of Suu Kyi, General Aung San, "has been corrupted" and has become "an oppressor of the people, not a defender of the people."

Kyaw Win says he now supports an international inquiry into those violations.     He also called for "highly targeted financial sanctions against the government and their cronies that serve to keep them in power." Sources say.

Kyaw Win, who has held the position in Washington since 2008, said that his work reaching out to the diplomatic, governmental, and NGO communities in the US capital may have made him a target of the regime he represents.

At the time, he said that he feared for his life because of an ongoing purge of the associates of former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, who was ousted in 2004 following a power struggle with more hard-line officials in the military junta.

(Agencies)