The leaders of some 50 Asian and European countries on Friday called on Myanmar to resume the democratic transition interrupted by a military coup, to release arbitrarily detained prisoners and to accept an envoy from Southeast Asia to arbitrate the 10-month-old political crisis.
Myanmar, a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, did not attend the two-day Asia-Europe virtual meeting. overthrow of the elected government of the country.
“The leaders expressed deep concerns about the situation in Myanmar and affirmed their strong support for ASEAN’s efforts to defuse the crisis,” the group said in a statement after the meeting, hosted by Cambodia, chairman of the group. ‘ASEAN 2022.
âThey called on all parties concerned in Myanmar to engage in a peaceful dialogue, to immediately end the violence in Myanmar and to exercise the utmost restraint; and called on Myanmar to quickly release all those arbitrarily detained, including foreigners, and to resume the path of democratic transition, national reconciliation and sustainable development, âthe statement said.
The sticking point – which also prevented Myanmar from attending a special ASEAN-China summit this week and the ten-member bloc leaders’ meeting in Brunei last month – has been the failure of the military regime. to honor the pledge made last April to authorize a special ASEAN meeting. sent to meet with ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and lawmakers ousted in the February coup.
The statement on Friday said ASEM leaders “urged Myanmar to facilitate the visit of the ASEAN special envoy to meet with all parties concerned.”
Asked about the Min Aung Hlaing submarine by ASEAN, Major General Zaw Min Tun, the junta spokesman told RFA: t attend, “
“If there were any objections about whoever represents the nation, or if he was not allowed to attend, or if he treated us with downgraded status, we have no reason to attend.” , he added.
The death toll among civilians since the military takeover is nearly 1,300 while more than 7,000 people remain in detention, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners based in Thailand. Hundreds of thousands of people are internally displaced in the country of 54 million people, due to food shortages and the coronavirus pandemic.
South china sea
Asian and European leaders, making the 25e year of the reunification, did not specifically refer to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, but affirmed a common commitment to “maintain peace, stability and to ensure maritime safety and security, to defend the freedom of navigation and overflight. , unhindered economic activities âat sea.
The summit declaration, which did not mention China, urged countries to act “in full compliance with international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), for the benefit of all. “.
During a leaders’ retreat on Friday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte raised the issue of the South China Sea for the second time in a week.
He did not mention China or Beijing by name, but his comments came after he publicly berated China at an ASEAN-China meeting on Monday for Chinese Coast Guard ships firing water cannons at Philippine supply ships in the South China Sea.
The renewed commitment of ASEAM leaders to open and inclusive multilateralism and the rule of law is “exactly what we need in this time of profound change and uncertainty,” said Duterte.
âNowhere is this more evident than in Asia-Pacific. Ours is a region full of promise but full of potential hot spots. These include disputes in one of the world’s most important sea lines of communication, âa statement issued by the president’s office said, quoting the president.
“There can be no other acceptable basis for a just maritime order than law, in particular the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” he said.
ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam – as well as Taiwan – all claim parts of the South China Sea, but China cites historic rights to nearly 90% of the sea despite rejection by international law.
Reported by RFA’s Myanmar service and by BenarNews, an online news service affiliated with RFA. Written in English by Paul Eckert.