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Malaysia joins calls to hold emergency ASEAN summit over Myanmar political situation

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Malaysia joins calls to hold emergency ASEAN summit over Myanmar political situation | Thaiger

Malaysia is joining calls to hold an emergency ASEAN summit to discuss the political turmoil in its neighbouring country of Myanmar. Malaysian PM Muhyiddin Yassin says he supports Indonesia’s president who originally proposed the emergency meeting.

Muhyiddin says the continued use of lethal violence against unarmed civilians was unacceptable, and urged Myanmar’s military leadership “to change its course and choose a path towards peaceful solutions.”

“There is no question about it, the use of live ammunition against peaceful protests is unacceptable. This deplorable situation must stop immediately.”

“We in Malaysia, and the larger ASEAN community, cannot afford to see our brotherly nation of Myanmar become so destabilised at the hands of a selected few, who seek to promote their own vested interests.”

Since the coup, Indonesia has led efforts within ASEAN to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis. Its president called for democracy to be restored and violence to be halted, joining other nations in condemning the military-led violence against anti-coup protesters.

“I will immediately call the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam as head of ASEAN to as soon as possible hold a high-level ASEAN meeting to discuss the crisis in Myanmar.”

ASEAN members discussed the political situation in Myanmar earlier this month, with the Thai Foreign Ministry now joining the growing list of countries to pressure the military to hold talks with political dissidents to end the conflict. But, Thailand still hasn’t outright condemned the coup. Many say Thailand may be wanting to get more involved as it prepares to see an influx of Myanmar nationals fleeing to Thailand to escape the increasing violence in their home country.

Just recently, the military coup leader in Myanmar made statements that indicated the military was okay with pending sanctions from the international community, implying that the government was willing to be isolated from the world.

Myanmar’s most powerful Buddhist group has also criticised the military’s use of violence and has appeared to break from historically aligning itself with the government. The group says it will stop activities in an apparent move to protest the political situation.

The United Nations has also criticised the violence against anti-coup protesters in Myanmar, citing women and children are among the victims killed as increasing concerns of civilian casualties mount.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    Well done, for the first time, to ASEAN – even if it may not have any direct effect.

  2. Avatar

    Gosport

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    Malay doesn’t want refugees boats.

  3. Avatar

    Des

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    There is no politics involved, it’s vicious Despotism vs Democracy civilization.

  4. Avatar

    James R

    Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 2:58 am

    But Thailand is a military dictatorship, that is a case of the pot calling the kettle black it seems to me.

    Demonstrators are being taken and put in prison without a trial, demonstrators going on hunger strike etc in Thailand?

  5. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 9:56 pm

    malaysian and indonesian companies have a fair amount of buissness interests in Myanmar.many are hotel and tourism related.
    Don’t suppose that could have anything to do with this nobel stance.

  6. Avatar

    sam

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Asean’s stumbling block is the “non-interference” clause in its charter.So far,it was only able to assist in the election in Cambodia many decades ago..as for Myanmar,it will continue to drag its feet for several years before any solution can be found.It does not follow counter-productive unilateral sanctions by lost world leader,USA.

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Myanmar

Thailand calls on Myanmar military to release detainees and to de-escalate the situation

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Thailand calls on Myanmar military to release detainees and to de-escalate the situation | Thaiger
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Thailand is urging Myanmar to release everyone who was detained by the military following last month’s coup. Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement today calling on a de-escalation of the country’s situation where many have been injured and even killed in protests.

“As a neighbor, sharing a long common border, and with the Myanmar and Thai peoples having close interactions in many aspects, Thailand continues to follow developments in Myanmar with much concern. As with other countries, we are saddened by the loss of lives and the sufferings of the people of Myanmar due to escalating violence in the country.

We call for de-escalation of the situation and release of detainees. We also urge all parties concerned to seek a peaceful solution for Myanmar and its people through dialogue via any constructive channels.”

Thailand has been preparing temporary facilities, in areas bordering Myanmar, to help Burmese citizens who are leaving Myanmar to escape the crackdown from the military and police following the recent takeover.

Recently, there have been trilateral talks held between the foreign affairs ministers of Thailand and Indonesia with a senior Myanmar military official.

SOURCES: Thai PBS World| Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Economy

Britain to apply for membership with Asia Pacific free trading bloc

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Britain to apply for membership with Asia Pacific free trading bloc | Thaiger

In the wake of Britain’s Brexit and separation from the EU trading bloc, the UK is now applying to become part of the free trade bloc made up of 11 Asia and Pacific nations. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership also includes Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand, a potential market population of around 500 million. The countries generate more than 13% of the world’s income.

The request will be made formally tomorrow by the UK International Trade Secretary. Negotiations are expected to start in March and continue during the northern hemisphere Spring.

There would also be the potential for faster and cheaper visas for business people travelling between participating nations.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership was formed in 2018 and includes, in alphabetical order, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Former US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the free trade bloc back in 2016.

The UK hopes the deal will reduce trade tariffs between the member countries. It includes a promise to eliminate or reduce 95% of import charges – although some of these charges are kept to protect some home-made products, for example Japan’s rice and Canada’s dairy industry.

In return, countries co-operate on trade regulations, quality controls and food standards. Member countries can negotiate separate trade deals as well within the bloc. The UK is the first non-founding country of the CPATTP to apply for membership and, if accepted, will be the bloc’s second biggest economy after Japan.

But the International Trade Secretary warns that the short-terms gains for UK households and business will be limited. The UK already has trade deals with 7 of the 11 countries. The reality is that CPTPP nations account for less than 10% of UK exports, a fraction of what it was doing with the EU.

But commentators say that the real advantages could emerge in the future, particular if the US joins, as President Biden has hinted. That would allow a back door deal for trade with the US without necessarily having an individual trade deal with the US.

In total, CPTPP nations accounted for 8.4% of UK exports in 2019.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP was hammered out late last year and is a free trade agreement between the Asia-Pacific nations of Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The 15 member countries account for about 30% of the world’s population (2.2 billion people) and 30% of global GDP as of 2020, making it the biggest trade bloc in history.

Unifying the preexisting bilateral agreements between the 10 member ASEAN and 5 of its major trade partners, the RCEP was signed on 15 November 2020 at a virtual ASEAN Summit hosted by Vietnam.

With the US locked out of RCEP and currently not part of CPATPP, plus its ongoing trade war with China, the US economy is waging an expensive gamble with its isolationist trade policies.

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World

Christmas across Asia: How Thailand’s neighbours celebrate

Maya Taylor

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Christmas across Asia: How Thailand’s neighbours celebrate | Thaiger
PHOTO: www.ministryofvillas.com

Those of us living in Thailand (and those who holiday here in more “normal” times), are familiar with what Christmas looks like in the Land of Smiles. But what about other Asian countries? Here’s a round-up of what the festive season looks like for some of our neighbours.

Indonesia
Despite being a primarily Muslim nation, Christmas is celebrated by many in Indonesia. A history of colonisation by European settlers means the country is home to a minority Christian population. In Bali, this community is found primarily in the south of the island, where it’s traditional to have a Christmas tree made of chicken feathers and streets decorated with yellow coconut leaves, known as penjor.

Fireworks are also a big part of Indonesia’s Christmas celebrations, with children often allowed to stay up all night on Christmas Eve watching the spectacle. About 10% of Indonesians identify as Christian.

China
Christmas is becoming more popular in China’s larger cities, due primarily to the influence of resident expats. While Chinese children don’t write to Santa, or leave him cookies and milk on Christmas Eve, “peace apples” are popular. These are decoratively-wrapped apples, which are given as gifts.

The reason behind this is apparently because the word for apple sounds like the words “peace” and “Christmas Eve” in Mandarin. Travel outside the big cities however, and into the Chinese heartland, and you will meet people who have had far less interaction with Westerners, and for whom Christmas remains a mystery. This is particularly true of the older generation.

South Korea
South Korea is one of a few Asian countries in which Christmas Day is a public holiday, with around 29% of the country’s population being Christian. Despite Christmas being a “newish” holiday, South Koreans have their own version of Father Christmas, known as Santa Haraboji (Grandfather Santa). While similar to the Western version we’re familiar with, South Korea’s Santa wears a green suit and tops it off with a gat, the traditional Korean hat.

Japan
The Japanese see Christmas as an opportunity to spread good luck and happiness, rather than as a religious festival. Christmas Eve is the main event, when romantic couples traditionally exchange presents. Although Christmas Day is not a public holiday, December 23 is, as it celebrates the Emperor’s birthday.

As with many parts of the world, Christmas is also an excuse for shopping, with brightly-decorated malls filled with people looking for gifts for family and friends.

Malaysia
Being the multicultural melting pot it is, Malaysia celebrates Malay, Chinese, Eurasian and Indian festivals throughout the year, and Christmas is no exception. Christmas Day is a public holiday, but the festive season takes on a more commercial aspect with lesser focus on the religious aspects in the majority Muslim country. Shopping malls in big cities like Kuala Lumpur start getting ready well in advance and you can expect to see them all decorated with giant Christmas trees, Santa figures, and twinkling lights.

SOURCE: Asia Exchange

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