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ASEAN scheduled to meet amid Myanmar’s political crisis

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ASEAN scheduled to meet amid Myanmar’s political crisis

ASEAN
Photo: Bangkok Post

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) will convene today for a virtual military operations meeting hosted by Brunei Darussalam.

Today’s meeting will bring together military leaders from the ten ASEAN member states to discuss defense cooperation, but the discussion will be dominated by the unfolding situation in Myanmar. The seizure of power by the Burmese military (known as the Tatmadaw) and the imprisonment of the country’s democratically elected leadership has prompted international outrage and sparked nationwide protests. Military crackdowns on demonstrations have killed at least 21 and more than 1,100 have been detained, prompting concern from Myanmar’s ASEAN partners.

ASEAN is unlikely to put forward any firm ultimatums or significant punishment for the Tatmadaw today. While some member states—notably Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines—have called on the military to release all political prisoners and restore democracy, others have been less insistent, instead calling on all parties to avoid further violence. Thus, without a firm, unified condemnation from all member states, a resolution to the political crisis in Myanmar is unlikely to emerge from ASEAN dialogue. A key tenet of ASEAN’s charter is noninterference in domestic politics, so the Tatmadaw is likely to disregard any criticism levied by its neighbors and claim such rhetoric violates the coalition’s charter.

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Photo: Robert Ward

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