The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has opposed China’s proposal to invite Myanmar junta leader Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to attend their special summit next week.
Reuters citing diplomatic sources, reported on Thursday, Nov. 18, that a Chinese envoy has lobbied ASEAN to let the Myanmar military ruler join the ASEAN-China summit but met stiff opposition.
Co-hosted by Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the meeting is scheduled on Nov. 22 to commemorate their 30th anniversary of bilateral relations. Brunei holds the rotating chair of ASEAN this year.
Myanmar is among 10 member countries of ASEAN. Still, its standing has been thrown into the spotlight by a coup in February when its military ousted the elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Last month, ASEAN leaders also blocked Gen. Min Aung Hlaing from an ASEAN summit in an unprecedented decision after the coup leader failed to honor his commitment to the association to solve the political crisis resulting from his military takeover.
One example of noncooperation, the general has refused to allow an ASEAN envoy to meet lawmakers overthrown in the coup.
Several diplomatic and political sources said that four countries wanted Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to be banned from the China-ASEAN meeting.
“Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei have agreed to maintain the same position as the ASEAN summit,” a government source said.
According to the Irrawaddy, ASEAN said it would accept a nonpolitical representative of Myanmar in the general’s place at the summit, but Myanmar refused to send anyone.
However, the junta criticized ASEAN’s position and demanded that the regional grouping sticks to its noninterference policy in members’ internal affairs.
Earlier this week, Sun Guoxiang, the special envoy for Asian affairs at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, arrived in Myanmar after visiting Singapore and Brunei to lobby for Gen. Min Aung Hlaing’s participation in the virtual summit but ending with ASEAN’s opposition.
Sun said that China “would maintain the nonpolitical representative principle applied by ASEAN.”