Asean divided over Myanmar as group postpones year’s first meeting

In recent days, Malaysia and Singapore have opposed the idea of inviting back the junta to Asean meetings, as it had made no progress on a peace plan. The disagreement indicates a challenging year ahead for Asean, threatening more exposure of its internal fissures and endangering the bloc’s credibility.

Unresolved differences about engagement with Myanmar’s military rulers are causing discord among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), diplomats and government officials say, as a ministers’ meeting set for this week was pushed back.

The friction follows a tumultuous final few months of 2021 after Asean took the unprecedented step of sidelining Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing from its leaders’ summit in the wake of a military coup and use of deadly force against protesters.

The thorny issue of Myanmar attending Asean events remains unresolved, said Indonesian foreign ministry official Abdul Kadir Jailani.

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