ASEAN nations express deep concern over ongoing violence in Myanmar
Southeast Asian nations expressed deep concern over the ongoing violence in Myanmar during this week’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Indonesia. The regional bloc has been under scrutiny for its perceived inaction and inability to resolve the crisis amid the bloodshed following a military coup in 2021.
In a statement, ASEAN leaders urged “the immediate cessation of all forms of violence and the use of force to create a conducive environment for the safe and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance and inclusive national dialogues.” They also condemned a recent attack on a convoy of diplomats delivering humanitarian aid in Myanmar and insisted that the perpetrators must be held accountable.
Myanmar’s junta has disregarded international criticism and chosen not to cooperate with its opponents, which include ousted lawmakers, anti-coup People’s Defence Forces, and armed ethnic minority groups. An air strike on a village situated in a rebel stronghold last month reportedly killed around 170 people, prompting global condemnation and worsening the junta’s isolation.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who addressed the summit, expressed confidence in the 10-member bloc’s ability to handle growing global challenges if united. Widodo added…
“With unity, ASEAN will be able to play a central role in bringing peace and growth.”
ASEAN foreign affairs ministers and national leaders are discussing implementing a five-point plan agreed upon with Myanmar two years ago after earlier mediation attempts failed. Myanmar remains an ASEAN member but has been excluded from high-level summits due to the junta’s failure to carry out the peace plan.
Indonesia’s chairmanship this year has raised hopes that ASEAN will push for a peaceful resolution using its economic influence and diplomatic experience. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stated that her country was employing “quiet diplomacy” to engage with all sides of the Myanmar conflict and encourage renewed peace efforts.
However, a senior Indonesian minister warned that ASEAN is at a “crossroads” and risks becoming irrelevant if it fails to address the situation in Myanmar and other regional emergencies. The bloc’s charter principles of consensus and non-interference have hindered its ability to halt the violence in Myanmar, posing an existential threat to the organization.
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