ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Myanmar again troubles Asean
By David Swartzemtruber
The latest reported move is to defer the decision to later this year. Deferral is a common approach in Southeast Asia, when a really tough issue has to be decided. The same “deferral” process is going on in the decision process about building the Xayaburi dam on the lower Mekong River.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister and acting Asean chair, Marty Natalegawa, said that a fact-finding trip will be taken to Myanmar and that trip will include a meeting with Myanmar opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
The previous time that Myanmar was poised to take the chairmanship in 2006, it withdrew in the midst of strong opposition from the West, particularly the United States.
The Myanmar government has known about the fact-finding mission as it was informed about the procedure at the Asean foreign ministers meeting in Bangkok in April.
Natalegawa acknowledges that the election, the new government and the civilian administration are new wrinkles on the Myanmar fruit but the question is, “Is the fruit underneath still rotten?”
The new Thein Sein regime sees its ascension to the Asean chairmanship as a proof of being “legit,” however, in his pre-Asean Summit statements, Foreign Minister Natalegawa, seems equally indisposed to being used as a tool of the Myanmar government.
Asean now has Myanmar in a “tit for tat” situation. If Myanmar is allowed to take the chair, what concessions can Asean extract to bring Myanmar closer to the ideals embodied in the Asean Charter.
The fact-finding trip is scheduled for the next few weeks following the Asean Summit scheduled for this weekend in Jakarta.
From press statements, the Indonesian Foreign Minister seems well prepared to deal with the vexsome Myanmar issue.
Letters that do not contain full contact information cannot be published.
Letters become the property of AseanAffairs and may be republished in any format.
They typically run 150 words or less and may be edited
submit your comment in the box below