Biden joins Southeast Asian leaders in berating Burmese junta excluded from summit
- Myanmar, a test for ASEAN’s credibility – Thai pm
- Junta displayed “unwelcome attitude” – Indonesian President
- Biden expresses ‘grave concern’ over violence
- Myanmar rejects ASEAN exclusion decision
- U.S. security adviser meets with Myanmar shadow government
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, October 26 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden joined Southeast Asian leaders in berating the Burmese junta on Tuesday, as a regional summit opened without a representative of the country in following the exclusion of its highest general for having ignored the peace proposals.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had said it would accept an apolitical figure from Myanmar at the virtual meeting, but the junta rejected him, saying it would only accept his leader or minister present.
In an unprecedented snub to the head of a member state, ASEAN had decided to sideline Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, who led a February 1 coup that degenerated into violence and chaos, for his inability to end hostilities, allow humanitarian access and initiate dialogue, as agreed with ASEAN.
The move was a huge rebuke to the Burmese military and a rare and daring step by a regional bloc known for its code of consensus, non-interference and engagement.
“Today, ASEAN has not expelled Myanmar from the ASEAN framework. Myanmar has given up its right,” said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who will be the group’s chairman next year.
“Now we are in the situation of ASEAN minus one. It is not because of ASEAN, but because of Myanmar.”
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said ASEAN has a niche for Myanmar, but has chosen not to join.
At the virtual summit, Biden expressed “serious concerns” about the violence in Myanmar and called on his military to release those unjustly detained, the White House said.
Myanmar said his absence was “due to the refusal of the head of state or head of government or his representation at ministerial level”. A foreign ministry statement said it “has no intention of protesting ASEAN or boycotting ASEAN.”
Addressing the leaders, Indonesian President Joko Widodo lamented Myanmar’s “unwelcome attitude” towards ASEAN’s diplomatic efforts, Retno said.
“It is important for us to honor the principles of non-interference. But on the other hand, we are obliged to respect other principles … such as democracy, good governance, respect for the rights of the man and constitutional government, âshe said. , quoting the president.
ASEAN President Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said Myanmar should have space to return to normal in accordance with ASEAN’s principle of non-interference. Read more
The region’s leaders urged “the mediation of the situation in Myanmar to maintain the credibility of ASEAN,” he said in a statement.
It was Brunei, supported by the majority, which decided to exclude the leader of the junta.
The Myanmar military, which has ruled the country for 49 of the past 60 years, has accused ASEAN of deviating from its standards and allowing itself to be swayed by other countries, including the United States.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a retired general considered the ASEAN leader closest to Myanmar’s coup plotters, urged the country to implement a five-point roadmap he agreed to with ASEAN.
CREDIBILITY IN GAME
“The constructive role of ASEAN in dealing with this situation is of paramount importance and our action on this issue will affect the credibility of ASEAN in the eyes of the international community,” said Prayuth, who is first came to power in a coup in 2014 before his party won. elections five years later.
Suu Kyi, 76, appeared in court on Tuesday and denied one of the charges, inciting public alarm, media reported. Read more
Prayuth said he hoped the junta would trust ASEAN’s intentions and that Erywan could visit Myanmar soon and take “an important first step in the confidence-building process.”
UN envoys say that since the coup, Burmese security forces have killed more than 1,000 people and detained thousands, many of whom have been tortured and beaten.
Myanmar dismissed this as biased and exaggerated by unreliable sources and blame “The Terrorists” loyal to a shadow government of national unity (NUG), an alliance of anti-coup groups, militias and ethnic minority rebels.
Jake Sullivan, US National Security Advisor met representatives of NUG Monday. Read more
Sullivan said in a White House briefing Tuesday that he praised their “courage and commitment” and discussed humanitarian aid and “diplomacy with key countries in the region and those with a influence over the military junta, and how the United States could send strong messages to those countries. “
Biden attended a joint session with ASEAN, the first time in four years Washington has engaged at the highest level with a bloc he sees as essential to countering an increasingly assertive China. Read more
Biden said ASEAN countries can expect him to personally show up in the region in the future.
“Our partnership is essential to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific, which has been the foundation of our shared security and prosperity for many decades,” he said.
Report on Ain Bandial in Bandar Seri Begawan; Additional reporting by Tom Allard in Sydney, Stanley Widianto in Jakarta; A. Ananthalakshmi in Kuala Lumpur, Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok and David Brunnstrom and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington; Written by Martin Petty; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Nick Macfie, Giles Elgood and Andrea Ricci
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