Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte joined Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to skip the highly-anticipated ASEAN special meeting on the crisis in Myanmar tomorrow.
President Harry Roque Jr.’s spokesman. said Thursday that Duterte will not participate because of the meeting’s “face-to-face” requests, and will be replaced by Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin Jr. declare from the State Department, which stated that Duterte would skip the summit to “engage in urgent domestic concerns due to the proliferation of COVID-19 cases.”
“The President, through Minister Locsin, will convey the Philippines’ commitment to ASEAN’s joint efforts to address threats and challenges to peace and stability in the region,” the statement said. for more info.
“Minister Locsin will also express his strong support for the initiative of Brunei Darussalam and the ASEAN Secretary-General on the use of their good offices, in accordance with the ASEAN Charter, to visit Myanmar. and prompting ASEAN to cope with the crisis in Myanmar. “
The ASEAN meeting was the culmination of several weeks of diplomacy between Indonesia and a number of other member states, and hopes to pave the way to negotiating a settlement of the political crisis that has dragged Myanmar into chaos since the military. team took power on February 1.
Prayut’s government has provided COVID-19 as a rationale for his own absence, with Thailand experiencing its worst outbreak, reporting a record high of more than 2,000 cases on Friday.
However, it is not difficult to draw the conclusion that Prayut, who also took power in a coup in 2014 before cleaning it up through semi-democratic elections in 2019, wants to avoid a confrontation with Thuong. General Min Aung Hlaing. After all, Tatmadaw and the Royal Thai Army have a close relationship.
As Thitinan Pongsudhirak of Chulalongkorn University pointed out in Bangkok Post todayMin Aung Hlaing, considered himself the adopted son of Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda, former Prime Minister of Thailand and chairman of the Secretariat Council, the advisory body for the country’s mighty monarchy. Immediately after the coup, Min Aung Hlaing wrote for Prayut asks for his help to “support democracy” in Myanmar.
How important will the absence of Duterte and Prayut be? Like me noted earlierThe ASEAN Summit faces a series of thorny diplomatic challenges, starting with the fact that neither Myanmar’s warring factions have shown any interest in dialogue and compromise. salvage measures for the crisis. These challenges will be nearly insurmountable regardless of who represents the other nine ASEAN countries.
In Duterte’s case, there is an argument to be made that at least in terms of personal style, Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin could actually be an improvement. Since the coup, Locsin has been straightforward individuals on the situation in Myanmar, notably by ASEAN standards. On March 2, you call for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s immediate release and the subsequent dialogue between the parties regarding their country’s destiny ”.
On his Twitter account, he also praised deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and lashed out. be censured “hypocrites of the West” for abandoning her in the face of violent military treatment of Rohingya Muslims. All of this suggests that he may be more outspoken than Duterte protested.
At the same time, awareness is extremely important in diplomacy. While these leaders’ absence won’t make any difference to Saturday’s specific procedures, it carries symbolic weight, as an indication of ASEAN’s capabilities – or helplessness – assembling a united front facing the bloodshed that Myanmar’s army reaches its own people.
Thitinan of Chulalongkorn University wrote yesterday that in the period before the meeting, “what goes into the meeting is more likely to say what will come from it.” Without the attendance of the head of the Thai government, tomorrow’s highly anticipated ‘special’ ASEAN ‘Summit’ in Jakarta over Myanmar’s crisis could be declared disputed when come.”