Myanmar junta leader not invited to Asean summit: Cambodia

Myanmar junta leader not invited to Asean summit: Cambodia

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Myanmar junta leader Min Aung Hlaing on the sidelines of the 2022 Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Sept 7, 2022. (AFP)
FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Myanmar junta leader Min Aung Hlaing on the sidelines of the 2022 Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Sept 7, 2022. (AFP)

Myanmar's junta leader has not been invited to a regional summit next month, host Cambodia said Wednesday, in a fresh diplomatic snub for the isolated military regime.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has led diplomatic efforts to resolve the turmoil that has gripped Myanmar since the military seized power last year.

But there has been little progress on a "five-point consensus" agreed with the junta, and its leader and ministers have been shut out of recent meetings of the 10-member regional bloc.

Linking the invitation to "progress in the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus", a Cambodian foreign ministry spokesman said the junta had been invited to "nominate a non-political representative for the upcoming Asean Summits".

This means junta chief Min Aung Hlaing would not be allowed to attend, just as his top diplomat was barred from foreign ministers' gatherings in Phnom Penh in February and August.

The five-point plan, agreed in April last year, calls for an immediate end to violence and dialogue between the military and the anti-coup movement.

There is growing dissatisfaction within Asean -- sometimes criticised as a toothless talking shop -- at the Myanmar generals' stonewalling.

The junta's execution of four prisoners in July, in defiance of widespread international calls for clemency, caused further anger.

August's meeting of Asean foreign ministers ended with a rare condemnation from the bloc for the junta's actions.

The ministers said they were "deeply disappointed by the limited progress in and lack of commitment of the Naypyidaw authorities to the timely and complete implementation of the five point consensus".

Asean's own envoy tasked with brokering peace has admitted the scale of the task, saying "even Superman cannot solve" the crisis.

- US pressure -

The regional bloc's snub comes as Washington attempts to exert more pressure on the junta through the United Nations, following outrage over an air strike that killed 11 schoolchildren last month.

US State Department counsellor Derek Chollet held talks with other governments and with representatives of the self-declared National Unity Government -- dominated by ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party -- during the UN General Assembly earlier this month.

Myanmar is planning fresh elections in August next year, but Chollet warned there was "no chance" they could be free and fair.

The junta has justified its power grab pointing to alleged fraud in the 2020 elections, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won easily.

A military crackdown on dissent in the wake of the coup has left more than 2,300 civilians dead, according to a local monitoring group.

The junta, meanwhile, says the uprising against its rule has left almost 3,900 of its supporters dead.

Japan invitation

Japan's invitation to the envoy of military-ruled Myanmar to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's state funeral last week does not imply endorsement of the Southeast Asian nation's junta, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Friday.

Hayashi acknowledged to reporters that there are "various opinions" about the invitation of Myanmar Ambassador to Japan Soe Han to the funeral held Tuesday. But he said the government had "decided to inform all nations with which Japan has diplomatic ties" of the holding of the ceremony "given the nature of the event."

"There is no change to Japan's stance of not recognising the legitimacy of the Myanmar military coup," Hayashi said, adding that Japan will continue to urge the military to immediately end violence against citizens.

In a social media post with photos on Tuesday night, the Myanmar government said Soe Han and his wife attended the ceremony in Tokyo as the country's representatives.

Abe, Japan's longest-serving prime minister, was fatally shot during an election campaign speech in early July.

In contrast to Japan's invitation, the British government reportedly did not allow Myanmar delegates to attend the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II on Sept 19

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