PM Lee Speaks At ASEAN Summit In Jakarta On 24 Apr
Since a military coup in Myanmar on 1 Feb, tensions have escalated dramatically, with peaceful protests often ending in bloodshed.
PM Lee attended the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, and called for Myanmar authorities to cease further bloodshed.
He also called for the immediate release of political detainees like Aung San Suu Kyi.
Calling the events and bloodshed in Myanmar “deeply concerning”, PM Lee said they can affect stability, security and prosperity in all of ASEAN.
PM Lee calls Myanmar situation “deeply concerning”
The Straits Times (ST) reports that the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting included several ASEAN leaders as well as their
- Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
- Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing
- Indonesia President Joko Widodo (Jokowi)
- Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen
- Malaysia Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin
- Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
- Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh
- Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr
- Thailand Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai
- Laos Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith
The latter three are representatives of their respective countries’ leaders.
This was for PM Lee and many other leaders, their first trip out of their countries since the pandemic started.
It illustrates the urgency of the summit, which President Jokowi called last month amid the developing situation in Myanmar.
But PM Lee said that action needs to be taken, and by the whole of ASEAN, together.
Singapore continues to strongly oppose the use of lethal force against civilians, he said in a speech.
He also encourages a solution that will return Myanmar to the path of democratic transition, involving both the military and the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Ms Suu Kyi.
ASEAN leaders, led by Brunei, called for the following:
- Stopping violence in Myanmar
- Release political detainees
- Resume political dialogue with all key stakeholders
- ASEAN must play a constructive role
- Facilitating an ASEAN delegation visit
- Facilitating humanitarian assistance led by ASEAN and others
This is the strongest stance against Myanmar by ASEAN so far.
PM Lee hopes that sense will prevail and that we can find a durable as well as peaceful political solution.
Myanmar junta leader present at meeting
The military junta leader, Min Aung Hlaing, was also present at the summit.
According to South China Morning Post (SCMP), PM Lee said the general had heard the others’ points and will not be opposed to a delegation visit or ASEAN playing a constructive role.
He also said the junta will move forward and engage with ASEAN constructively.
Much depends on ASEAN
The current situation in Myanmar since the coup is nothing if not deplorable. Many have died or have otherwise been detained since a coup by the military on 1 Feb.
Allowing a delegation led by ASEAN to visit the country and facilitate recovery between the military and the popular government would be a step towards stopping the conflict.
Hopefully, the violence will deescalate from here.
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Featured image adapted from Facebook.