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Myanmar Military Official Attends ASEAN Meeting as Nonpolitical Representative

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A senior official from Myanmar‘s military government has attended a meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Luang Prabang, Laos. The official was present as a nonpolitical representative, following ASEAN members’ decision to only permit the presence of nonpolitical representatives from Myanmar. The participation of the Myanmar official took place as the country approaches the third anniversary of the military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government led by civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, 2021.

nn

Since October 2021, Myanmar had chosen to boycott ministerial meetings of ASEAN after the organization decided to allow only a nonpolitical representative from the country. However, this year’s ASEAN chair, Laos, has shown willingness to engage with Myanmar’s military regime. Although Myanmar initially expressed the desire to send a higher-ranking official such as the foreign minister, this plan was rejected by ASEAN members.

nn

The military regime in Myanmar has been met with violent responses from pro-democracy protesters, and clashes between the regime and ethnic groups have been escalating since October. ASEAN comprises member countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Rachel Adams

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