Cambodia’s ‘cowboy diplomacy’ in Myanmar isolates ASEAN

Incoming ASEAN chair has been pressing for greater engagement with the Myanmar military despite pushback.

As Cambodia prepares to assume the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year, Prime Minister Hun Sen is splitting with most of the bloc by looking to bring Myanmar’s military leadership into the fold.

Since the military coup on February 1 in Myanmar, most ASEAN states have condemned the new government, notably blocking its attendance at both the ASEAN Summit in October and the ASEAN-China Summit in November due to the leadership’s “insufficient progress” on carrying out a peace plan agreed with the regional bloc earlier this year.

But, despite concerns expressed by other ASEAN states, Hun Sen is now touting engagement with the military, also known in Myanmar as the Tatmadaw, as the best way forward.

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