Kamis, 30 Maret 2023

ASEAN Council Meeting Kicks Off without Myanmar

Jayanty Nada Shofa
3 Feb 2023 | 15:46 WIB
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo takes a photo with ASEAN foreign ministers (excluding Myanmar) and ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Feb. 3, 2023. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak)
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo takes a photo with ASEAN foreign ministers (excluding Myanmar) and ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Feb. 3, 2023. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak)

Jakarta. The 32nd ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting is now in motion at the bloc’s secretariat in Jakarta, with no representative from Myanmar in sight.

The coordinating council meeting, commonly shortened as the ACC, is set to discuss, among others, ASEAN’s key deliverables during Indonesia’s chairmanship year. Despite Myanmar’s vacant seat, the political turmoil in the country casts a shadow over the ministerial meetup. 

“Internally, we are facing the situation in Myanmar that tests our credibility,” Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said when kicking off the 32nd ACC.

Prior to the ACC, the diplomats also discussed the Myanmar issue over a working lunch this afternoon.


“To address the internal challenge, namely the situation in Myanmar, as a family, we dedicate a working lunch to have an in-depth and frank discussion on the implementation of the five-point consensus,” Retno said.

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President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo earlier today also met with the ASEAN foreign ministers at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta. He told the diplomats that the bloc should continue to stick to the five-point consensus or peace plan in dealing with the situation in Myanmar.

“The president asserted that the five-point consensus would remain ASEAN’s main mechanism to address the issue and [new] developments in Myanmar,” Retno told reporters after the meeting with Jokowi.

This marked the first time that ASEAN foreign ministers are assembling under Indonesia’s chairmanship.  

ASEAN has barred the Myanmar junta from high-level meetings after it had shown no willingness to implement the five-point consensus, which calls for an immediate cessation of violence and dialogue among all parties.

Military-run Myanmar, however, actually got an invite to send a non-political figure to this week’s string of foreign-policy gatherings. But as expected, Myanmar declined the offer. Although ASEAN to this day still has a seat assigned to Myanmar in its meetings, highlighting that the country still belongs to the Southeast Asian bloc.

The meetup took place shortly after the two-year anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) reported on Thursday that at least 2,948 pro-democracy activists and civilians, including 286 children, have died in the hands of the Myanmar military since the Feb. 1, 2021 coup. The Myanmar court late last year extended Aung San Suu Kyi's prison sentence to 33 years.

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