Singapore, Indonesia lead ASEAN push to solve Myanmar crisis
Asia Pacific Focus

Singapore, Indonesia lead ASEAN push to solve Myanmar crisis

Singapore, Indonesia are calling for ASEAN support to help resolve Myanmar’s political situation

As military coup continues to persist in Myanmar, Indonesia and Singapore are leading the ASEAN push to resolve the political crisis in the Southeast Asian country. Indonesia and Singapore are calling for a meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with the aim of helping Myanmar resolve the post-coup situation.

This development has come after a recent visit of Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to Singapore. During her visit, Retno held talks with Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan with the aim of building strong support within ASEAN for Myanmar. During their meeting, the two foreign ministers agreed that ASEAN can play a crucial role in boosting constructive dialogue and return to normalcy and stability in Myanmar.

A day before her Singapore visit, Retno met ASEAN Chairman Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in Brunei, who also expressed his support for an immediate meeting of Southeast Asian leaders. In a statement from Brunei, Retno said that many countries have raised concerns over the ongoing political situation in Myanmar. 

“I continue to maintain communication with my counterparts at ASEAN and foreign ministers from many countries, and the UN envoy on Myanmar,” Retno added. 

Earlier this month, Indonesian President Joko Widodo held talked with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, calling for a special ASEAN meeting to discuss the political situation in Myanmar. 

Later, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan expressed Singapore’s support to Indonesia and Malaysia’s call for holding a meeting to discuss Myanmar and take urgent steps to de-escalate the situation in the country. He further underlined that the only obstacle in convening an urgent meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers would be difficulty in reaching a consensus among the member states. 

“A meeting among ASEAN Foreign Ministers would be an opportunity for all ASEAN Member States to share their concerns and perspectives given the importance and urgency of addressing recent developments,” he said in parliament.

ASEAN members’ responses to the military coup in Myanmar have been mixed. While Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia have expressed concerns and extended their support to resolve the crisis, other nations including Thailand and Vietnam have maintained that they would not interfere in the internal affairs of the country. Besides these countries, other ASEAN members include Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, the Philippines, and Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Canada and the United Kingdom on Thursday imposed sanctions on the military rulers of Myanmar over the imposition of a coup against the democratically-elected civilian government. As per reports, Canada said that it would take strong action against nine military leaders including Min Aung Hlaing, while the UK is going to impose asset freezes and travel bans on three Generals. 

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On February 1, Myanmar’s military imposed a coup and detained several National League for Democracy (NLD) leaders and government officials, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. After the military declared a state of emergency for one year, widespread anti-coup protests broke across various parts of the country.

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