Myanmar Junta Risks Total Ban at ASEAN Meetings

Myanmar's chair lies vacant at the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh.

Leaders of ASEAN countries have warned Myanmar that it needs to proceed with an actionable peace plan or risk removal from the bloc’s meetings as an aftermath of the social and political chaos engulfing the nation.  

During last week’s summit in Cambodia, ASEAN leaders acknowledged that there was very “little progress achieved in the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus” that aimed to reduce the widespread violence in Myanmar within a stipulated time among other measures.

The military chief of Myanmar, Min Aung Hlaing, wasn’t allowed to be part of the ASEAN summit and such measures would continue unless the armed forces complied “with its
commitments to the ASEAN Leaders”. Myanmar’s presence in future meetings will be under review as well.

United States President Joe Biden was also present at the summit and launched the US-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. According to South China Morning Post, he vowed to work together to resolve significant regional challenges such as the post-coup atrocities in Myanmar and the South China Sea dispute.

Reuters reports that on Friday the military government’s foreign ministry objected to the statement made by other ASEAN nations. It said that the country won’t follow the recommendations that “urge all parties concerned to de-escalate tensions and exercise utmost restraints and all parties concerned that bear arms should be fairly held accountable and condemned for violence”.

ASEAN doesn’t support imposing sanctions on Myanmar like several countries in the west or even expelling it from the group of nations owing to its long practice of not interfering in the sovereign affairs of other members. But it has continued to condemn the persistent violation of human rights in the country that include air strikes, execution of political prisoners, arresting and detaining prominent leaders including foreign nationals, and much more.