China’s support is crucial to ASEAN’s efforts to promote a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Myanmar, Jakarta’s top diplomat said on Monday.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in China between top Chinese envoys. across ASEAN and its Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.
Ms. Retno said of the bilateral talks with Mr. Wang Yi in Chongqing, Southwest China: “China’s support for ASEAN to implement the 5-point consensus will be highly appreciated, as it will contribute part in efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
“We also discussed the importance of resolving the political crisis in Myanmar immediately, and China’s support for ASEAN’s efforts will be important.”
This is the first face-to-face meeting between the ASEAN and China foreign ministers in more than a year. Wunna Maung Lwin, the foreign minister appointed by the Burmese military, also attended the talks, according to Myanmar’s global new light, a state-owned publication.
Analysts expect ASEAN and Beijing ministers to discuss the political crisis in Myanmar, but neither Marsudi nor Singapore’s foreign minister gave details of China’s response.
China’s Foreign Ministry only said that Beijing supports the ASEAN principle of non-interference and is talking to all relevant parties in Myanmar.
“We support joint efforts to find effective measures to de-escalate the situation and solve problems in the region,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press conference on Monday. ASEAN framework.
“China will maintain close communication with ASEAN and support its reconciliation efforts, and reach out to all parties in Myanmar in their own way, to ensure a ‘soft landing’.” early for the situation in Myanmar.”
Notably, in a Facebook post on Saturday, the Chinese Embassy in Naypyidaw referred to Min Aung Hlain’s administration as “The Leader of Myanmar,” months after Beijing congratulated Aung San Suu Kyi. and her National League for Democracy party won the national elections held. previous November.
After toppling the NLD government in a coup on February 1, Myanmar authorities jailed Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian leaders. In addition, more than 800 people – mostly anti-coup protesters – have been killed by the Burmese military and police in post-coup violence.
On April 24, ASEAN member states reached a 5-point consensus during a special summit in Jakarta. Min Aung Hlaing attended the meeting and endorsed the consensus. Its points included the appointment of a special envoy from the regional bloc to Myanmar and calls for an immediate end to the violence.
But days after the summit, the administration said it would not implement the ASEAN consensus unless there was “stability” in the country.
Development of ASEAN consensus ‘incredibly slow’
For its part, ASEAN has not done much better on consensus.
More than six weeks after the Jakarta meeting, the bloc has yet to name a single special envoy, although two envoys from ASEAN met with Myanmar’s military chief last weekend and offered the names of potential candidates. for the position of special envoy to ASEAN.
Immediately did not know what Min Aung Hlaing had to say on the subject.
Some observers have said that Wang of China will assist ASEAN foreign ministers in agreeing on an envoy at the meeting in Chongqing.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of ASEAN members Malaysia and Singapore on Monday publicly expressed disappointment over the bloc’s inaction on Myanmar so far.
Malaysia’s top diplomat, Hishammuddin Hussein, said consensus was important to help Myanmar move towards normalization.
“However, we must admit that the development of consensus has been very slow. The international community is waiting for ASEAN’s next action,” he said on Twitter as his deputy attended the meeting in Chongqing as Hishammuddin was in COVID-19 quarantine.
Singapore’s Foreign Minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, echoed these views.
“To be honest with you, we are disappointed in the slow progress – very, very slow. Unfortunately, we know that there are still civilians injured or killed,” he told Singapore reporters on a call from Chongqing, according to Channel News Asia.
“There has been no release of political detainees, no real sign of meaningful political dialogue and negotiation. So we will have to keep an eye on this space.”
On Saturday, the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar said Min Aung Hlaing had told the Chinese ambassador that he was willing to work with ASEAN to implement the consensus. Don’t know if they are talking about an ASEAN envoy or not.
Dinna Prapto Raharja, an international relations expert at Synergy Policies in Jakarta, said it is difficult to gauge how far ASEAN has acted because there is no clear timeline to implement it.
Dinna told BenarNews, an online news service affiliated to RFA: “Even among ASEAN members, their views are not unanimous on Myanmar.
She expressed doubt that ASEAN would be able to move quickly to facilitate dialogue in Myanmar.
“They seem convenient to check in.”
The East Sea issue was raised at the meeting
The ASEAN foreign ministers and Wang Yi also discussed the controversial South China Sea issue.
For its part, Malaysia expressed Kuala Lumpur’s position on the “intrusion” of 16 Chinese military aircraft into its maritime airspace over disputed waters in the South China Sea near the island of Borneo last week. Chief Hishammuddin said.
The minister said on Twitter: “Malaysia opposes the presence of foreign military assets contrary to the freedom of navigation and overflight/air in accordance with international law, as well as without the prior approval of the Government. Malaysia.
“Regarding the South China Sea, Malaysia will ensure our seas are safe for peace and prosperity. As the CoC negotiations continue, the presence of military assets is likely to increase tensions, which in turn could lead to miscalculation,” he said of the code negotiations. behavior in the South China Sea.
Code of conduct discussions were halted last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Indonesia’s Retno has called on ASEAN and China to immediately resume negotiations on the CoC. She described progress as “very slow” and suggested holding talks in the near future.
“I stress that our ability to manage the South China Sea will be a test of the ASEAN-China relationship, and call on all parties to exercise restraint in the disputed waters,” Retno said. .
“I reiterate that our ability to manage the South China Sea will underpin an equal, mutually beneficial and integral partnership for global peace and stability. And everything has to be done in accordance with UNCLOS 1982,” she said, referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea area while the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan have territorial claims of their own.
While Indonesia does not consider itself a party to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, Beijing claims historic rights to parts of the sea that overlap Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Indonesia has taken some confrontational stances with China over allegations that Chinese fishing boats, escorted by Chinese Coast Guard vessels, operate in the exclusive economic zone off the Natunas. this country.
Reported by BenarNews, an online news service affiliated to the RFA.