Cambodia’s Myanmar Crisis Diplomacy: Give Talks a Chance

As unpalatable as it sounds, political dialogue with the military offers the best route out of the country’s political and humanitarian crisis.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen will visit Myanmar early next month at the invitation of the country’s military junta, as he seek a solution to the current political crisis. Hun Sen will reportedly meet with the junta’s chief, Min Aung Hlaing, who seized power through a military coup on February 1.

The move by Hun Sen is likely to ensure that Myanmar’s military government will be included in talks within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during Cambodia’s chairmanship of the bloc in 2022, after it was excluded from the ASEAN Summit and related meetings in late October. In announcing his visit, the Cambodian leader stressed that he would try to achieve the restoration of cooperation and solidarity within the bloc.

Such an approach is not new. Indeed, it is a part of ASEAN’s long-standing practice of constructive engagement, which embraces political dialogue in the solution of regional problems – a process that helped ensure the reintegration of Myanmar into the regional community and paved the way for its democratic transformation more than a decade ago.

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