Myanmar Excluded from ASEAN Summit

Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing
Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing

Myanmar’s military chief Min Aung Hlaing has expressed disappointment at being excluded from an upcoming foreign ministers summit.

According to a statement by the group, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held an emergency meeting on Friday evening where it was decided to exclude Min Aung Hliang from an upcoming summit to be held 26-28 October.

Brunei, the current ASEAN Chair, said in a statement that a non-political figure from Myanmar would be invited to the summit after consensus could not be reached regarding which political representative should be allowed to attend.

The decision was made due to insufficient progress in the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus by Myanmar as well as concerns over Myanmar’s commitment to restoring peace.

“Some ASEAN Member States recommended that ASEAN give space to Myanmar to restore its internal affairs and return to normalcy in accordance with the will of the people of Myanmar,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Myanmar’s military government blamed foreign intervention for the decision.

Thy country’s foreign ministry said that the discussions and decisions on Myanmar’s representation were done without consensus and were against the objectives of ASEAN.

ASEAN countries held an emergency meeting in Jakarta in April, attended by leaders and top-level representatives from each member nation, including Myanmar’s Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, to try to persuade the country to restore peace.

The ASEAN leaders demanded an end to the killings, pressing the General to accept a five-point consensus to end the violence and begin a constructive dialogue, as well as accepting humanitarian assistance.

Six months later, failure by the junta to implement the five-point plan agreed upon by ASEAN nations in April was “tantamount to backtracking”, Erywan Yusof, the bloc’s special envoy to Myanmar, told a news conference as quoted by Reuters.

Excluding the leader of any member country during a summit is a bold step for ASEAN, which usually prefers engagement and consensus-driven decision-making rather than open confrontation.