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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Myanmar Junta Claims Opposition as ‘Terrorists’ in ‘Non-Asean’ Meeting

This Week

The military government of Myanmar met with several ASEAN leaders at an informal meeting last week where it denounced its opponents as “terrorists”.

Hosted in Bangkok on the sidelines of the Thai-Myanmar bilateral talks, the meeting was attended by foreign ministers of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia and the deputy foreign minister of Vietnam.

Senior officials from Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia—which will assume ASEAN Chairmanship in 2023—were invited to participate in the talks but did not attend.

The Thai foreign ministry spokeswoman Kanchana Patarachoke, referred to the interaction as “non-ASEAN”, as junta representatives are prohibited from attending official high-level ASEAN meetings since the regime failed to implement a “five-point consensus” that was decided following the violent aftermath of the 2021 military coup.

“The consultation was a non-ASEAN meeting but intended to complement ASEAN’s ongoing collective efforts to find a peaceful political resolution,” Ms. Kanchana said in a statement.

Participants from the Myanmar delegation included the junta’s foreign minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, Kan Zaw, the minister of investment and foreign economic relations, and Ko Ko Hlaing, the minister for international cooperation.

At the event, representatives from the Myanmar military government reiterated their position on the government-in-exile National Unity Government (NUG) and its armed forces wing People’s Defence Force (PDF), and other resistance forces.

They released a statement that read, “Myanmar delegation urged ASEAN member states to denounce the terrorist activities of the NUG and PDF and to discourage any moral, material and financial support to the terrorist organizations.”

Although no concrete decisions were reported from the event owing to the regime’s uncompromising position on its political rivals, a statement released by Cambodia’s foreign ministry expressed hope that the “open-ended informal consultation” would lead to what it called an “exit strategy” for Myanmar.

Meanwhile, during the ASEAN Summit held in Cambodia last month, leaders of ASEAN countries warned Myanmar that it needed to proceed with an actionable peace plan or risk total removal from the bloc’s meetings as a result of the social and political chaos engulfing the nation.

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