Myanmar’s junta chief Min Aung Hlaing excluded from ASEAN summit

The statement released by Singapore’s foreign ministry also acknowledged the lack of development made by the junta to reestablish peace in Myanmar after assuring ASEAN to do so back in April as a cause for the move. 

In an unprecedented decision taken by foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), military leader Min Aung Hlaing will be excluded from a regional summit scheduled to take place later this month.

The foreign Ministry of Singapore had later stated on Saturday, October 16 that the move was necessary to uphold’s ASEAN’s credibility. The decision comes in light of the junta chief staging a coup against the elected civilian government in Myanmar in February this year. He subsequently named himself the country’s Prime Minister in August. 

The statement released by Singapore’s foreign ministry also acknowledged the lack of development made by the junta to reestablish peace in Myanmar after assuring ASEAN to do so back in April as a cause for the move. Instead, the southeast countries agreed on summoning a non-political representative from Myanmar to attend the regional summit set to be held on October 26-28 in an emergency meeting held on Friday.

The decision to allow a non-political figure to attend the summit was made as no clear consensus could be reached by the ASEAN to select a political representative, ASEAN’s current chair Brunei disclosed. 

“As there had been insufficient progress… as well as concerns over Myanmar’s commitment, in particular on establishing constructive dialogue among all concerned parties, some ASEAN Member States recommended that ASEAN give space to Myanmar to restore its internal affairs and return to normalcy,” Brunei said in a statement.

The person replacing Min Aung Hlaing at the summit is yet to be decided. Though the Malaysian foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah has stated that it would be up to the junta in Myanmar to decide on a non-political representative for the summit, asserting that removing Myanmar from ASEAN was not the purpose of this decision. 

Meanwhile, junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun alleged that foreign interference was involved in the decision-making process, stating that the decision was made by the ASEAN under pressure from the US and the EU. 

Since the coup staged by the junta to overthrow the former democratic Myanmar government, more than 1000 citizens have been killed in the country by security forces while thousands have been detained due to a clampdown on protests and strikes against the new rule, the United Nations had reported. 

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