US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will attend the ASEAN minister’s meeting in Cambodia today. Secretary Blinken will likely focus
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will attend the ASEAN minister’s meeting in Cambodia today.
Secretary Blinken will likely focus on the political crisis in Myanmar. The recent execution of four democracy advocates in Myanmar has squandered Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s attempts to improve ties between ASEAN and the ruling junta. Myanmar will not be represented at the regional forum as its military rulers rejected a proposal to send a non-junta representative.
Secretary Blinken has accused ASEAN of failing to apply pressure on the junta and its leader, Min Aung Hlaing, and he will likely urge other nations at the forum to step up these efforts. Expect Blinken to also hold sideline meetings with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, where he may call for more concrete action in ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus plan, created to end violence and facilitate dialogue between the junta and coup opponents. Blinken may broach the idea of new, harsher sanctions on the junta.
Given the lack of progress so far on the Five-Point Consensus, ASEAN might consider sending its special envoy to meet with the National Unity Government, Myanmar’s civilian government-in-exile, to help establish a new political framework.