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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Cambodian PM’s visit to Myanmar: ASEAN’s weak role?

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen recently visited Myanmar for two days, despite a wave of condemnation that his visit undermines ASEAN and legitimizes Myanmar’s deadly regime. Hun Sen is currently the President of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2022, and is expected to lead ASEAN in diplomatic activity on how to navigate the political situation in Myanmar. As expected, Hun Sen was received by Myanmar officials including Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin and given a guard of honour. Together Hun Sen is donating medical equipment to fight COVID-19, including three million face masks, 200,000 N95 masks, 100,000 goggles, 30,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) suits, 30,000 face shields, 3,000 plastic bags Boots, 50 ventilators are included which are suitable for ICU. setting, 50 patient monitors and 50 oxygen concentrators. He was the first foreign leader to visit the country as Myanmar’s military overthrew the democratically elected party and imprisoned its leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi. Since February 1, at least 1,435 people have been killed by Tatmadaw in brutal crackdown on anti-democracy protests. Conflict has also increased in the border areas of the country causing humanitarian disaster. Thousands of people are fleeing for their lives. Inspired by Myanmar’s boycott from the bloc’s summit in 2021, the premier has repeatedly indicated his intention to bring the country back to ASEAN, arguing that the economic union was “incomplete”.

Why has the Cambodian Prime Minister visited Myanmar, which is almost a pariah nation in the world? Traditionally, Cambodia has been a time-tested ally of Myanmar. This country has been firmly behind Myanmar in times of crisis and challenges. Notably, the current Hun Sen leadership is close to Myanmar’s military junta. Cambodia has a different view of Myanmar and is a keen supporter as Hun Sen believes that ASEAN did not work very smoothly in 2021 on the Myanmar issue. As ASEAN president, Hun Sen is determined to find a way to stop the violence in Myanmar and maintain a “ceasefire”, while pursuing the bloc’s five-point consensus and bringing in humanitarian aid. . In his words, as long as Myanmar is separated, we cannot stand passively and we must find a way to resolve the standoff between the opposing sides there and take advantage of all opportunities to take the dialogue forward.

Although clearly Cambodian leaders focus on the political crisis in Myanmar, they have no concern for democracy, human rights and the brutality of the military regime. They have nothing to do with the Rohingyas or any minority group that is in the interests of the Myanmar regime and its allies. Cambodia has launched a diplomatic offensive to resettle the junta, first in ASEAN and then globally. Before assuming the revolving annual presidency of ASEAN, Hun Sen announced that he wanted the Burmese people to be represented at the bloc’s meeting. Responding to a question whether Cambodia could resolve the Myanmar junta issue, Hun Sen noted that any proposal would have to come from Myanmar itself, adding that the regional bloc was only a way of helping the member nation find a solution. was part. “It is not based on whether Cambodia can solve it or not, but Cambodia will try to negotiate a settlement to bring Myanmar back to a better position.

Hun Sen is trying to use his personal influence as one of the region’s oldest leaders, who has been in power for more than 36 years and who supported Vietnam’s invasion of his country in 1978. His own leadership is also deeply criticized in Cambodia, so his diplomatic role may also help him legitimize his power in Cambodia, one of the smaller but historic nations on Earth. Hun Sen often refers to ASEAN’s long-standing tradition of not interfering in each other’s internal affairs as an excuse not to exert any pressure on the junta government. It explicitly promotes the idea that under the ASEAN Charter, no one has the right to expel another member.

Support for the Hun Sen Initiative

Hun Sen’s visit has been supported by some members of ASEAN and outside. Cambodia enjoys strong support from two of ASEAN’s powerful regional partners and members of ASEAN Plus Three, China and Japan. In a statement from Japan’s MoFA, it said that Japan welcomes Cambodia’s active participation as ASEAN Chair on the situation in Myanmar, and the two ministers shared views for closer coordination. Another close ally of Myanmar, China also favors Myanmar along with Hun Sen and Cambodia. Chinese Foreign Ministry official, Wang Wenbin, said that China appreciates Myanmar’s readiness to create favorable conditions for the ASEAN special envoy to fulfill his duty and [he] Works towards an effective alignment between Myanmar’s Five Point Road Map and ASEAN’s Five Point Agreement. In his words, “China will fully support Cambodia, playing an active role in and building up the rotating chair of ASEAN.” [an] Myanmar’s important contribution in properly managing the differences between the parties”. ASEAN members such as Thailand and Vietnam have strong support for Hun Sen’s visit. Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon said top diplomat of ASEAN member-state Thailand sent a “congratulatory message”, which said “they strongly support the results of the Cambodia-Myanmar joint press release”.

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against travel

Rights groups are calling the visit a sham. They openly argue that by failing to insist on meeting with all sides of the conflict, including imprisoned political leaders such as Aung San Suu Kyi, PM Hun Sen has demonstrated a clear authoritarian orientation that all issues should be addressed closed doors. can be resolved through negotiations. Dictator. They argue that Hun Sen’s such stance threatens to undermine ASEAN’s very delicate decision that Myanmar’s political officials cannot participate in future ASEAN events until they arrive in April 2021. The junta does not follow the 5-point consensus agreed upon by supremo General Min Aung Huling. Activists also argue that along with the false belief generated by this misguided advice, there is a serious concern that Tatmadaw will see this as a green light to double down on his rights-abusing strategy of trying to stifle the aspirations of the Burmese people. . The worrying fact is that ASEAN has been making some efforts to stabilize the political conflict in Myanmar since the 2021 coup, but many believe that Hun Sen’s visit undermines this progress. Apparently, anti-coup activists and prominent members of Myanmar’s shadow government, the National Unity Government, have also condemned the visit on social media. The most vocal ASEAN members against the visit are Indonesia and Malaysia, which led the process in 2021 for gross violations of the 5-point agreement to keep junta leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, out of the ASEAN process, of which he was also a party.

Who has benefited from the trip?

Undoubtedly, it is Myanmar’s military junta that has gained in particular from this visit organized by pro-junta members within and outside ASEAN. Myanmar and Cambodia are particularly pleased with the results of the visit. First, the Myanmar military has achieved a major diplomatic advantage ahead of Hun Sen’s visit as he became the first foreign leader to visit Myanmar and meet the regime’s leader, Min Aung Huling, as the military chose the country. The government was overthrown. February 2021. Meanwhile, the two leaders discussed bilateral ties in a 140-minute meeting in the capital Naypyidaw and agreed that ASEAN special envoys could be involved in the Myanmar peace process. Myanmar believes that Cambodia will rule fairly during ASEAN’s presidency this year. For Myanmar, the visit of the Cambodian leader had “good results” who promoted military leadership as he argues that international pressure on Myanmar had not eased, but that Myanmar would not succumb to it.

Despite Myanmar and Cambodia’s satisfaction, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah criticized Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia for acting unilaterally in a meeting with the leader of Myanmar’s junta. “We would hope that he can at least consult – if not all – some of his brother leaders on what he should say,” the foreign minister added. He reminded that ASEAN’s position will not change until clear progress is made on Myanmar’s representation at the ASEAN summit and the five-point consensus at the respective summit at the end of the year, should remain apolitical. Indonesia is another powerful member of ASEAN which also criticized that visit and recognized it as a futile exercise.

Another immediate consequence of the visit is the postponement of the first ASEAN meeting known as the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat (AMM Retreat), initially scheduled for January 18–19, 2022 in Siem Reap Province under the 2022 Presidency of Cambodia. it was done. Although COVID 19 was shown to be a reason behind this decision, divisions among the members of the bloc on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Myanmar have played a key role behind this new development. Some ASEAN members opted not to attend the meeting due to strife within ASEAN over Hun Sen’s visit to Naypyidaw and a possible invitation to Myanmar’s foreign minister to participate in the withdrawal of ASEAN diplomats. In short, it is the intense disagreement among members over the ASEAN President’s invitation to Myanmar’s military-appointed Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, which has led to a standoff. It may be mentioned that Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore supported the removal of the coup leader from the regional bloc’s top summit in 2021 when Brunei was the chairman of the bloc. Analysts fear the postponement effectively delays the official endorsement of Foreign Minister Praak Sokhon as ASEAN’s new special envoy for Myanmar.

By visiting Myanmar and meeting with Min Aung Hlaing, Hun Sen legitimized them and, at the same time, undermined ASEAN’s role in playing a constructive role in the Myanmar crisis. The military leader in Myanmar has promised, among other things, an end to violence and access to the ASEAN special envoy for all parties in Myanmar’s political crisis, but he has done none of those things. Hun Sen has reversed the stance of previous President Brunei, who had put positive pressure on the Myanmar regime. The visit now calls into question the credibility and extent of ASEAN to continue its meaningful and effective diplomatic role in mitigating the crisis in Myanmar, which has an adverse impact on the future of the democratic movement and the possible repatriation of the Rohingyas.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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