Southeast Asian leaders hold summit, excluding Myanmar coup leader
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Southeast Asian
leaders begin their annual summit on Tuesday without Myanmar
military leader Min Aung Hlaing, who overthrew a civilian
government on Feb. 1, in a rare exclusion for the regional
grouping usually known for non-interference.
U.S. President Joe Biden will attend a joint session by video link, but it was likely no one would
represent Myanmar at the 10-member Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (Asean) summit.
Summit host Brunei has said the bloc will invite a
non-political representative from Myanmar but there has been no
confirmation of who it might be.
Myanmar’s foreign ministry late on Monday said it would only
agree to its head of state or ministerial representative,
indicating its seat would be empty at the summit.
Asean foreign ministers decided on Oct. 15 to sideline
Min Aung Hlaing, who overthrew a government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
The ministers cited the junta chief’s failure to implement
an Asean peace plan, which included ending hostilities,
initiating dialog, allowing humanitarian support and granting
a special envoy full access in the country.
Since overthrowing Suu Kyi’s government, detaining her and
most of her allies and ending a decade of tentative democracy,
Myanmar’s military has killed more than 1,000 people and
arrested thousands, monitoring group the Assistance Association
for Political Prisoners says.
The junta disputes that count as inflated and says soldiers
have been killed in fighting nationwide with armed opposition
Myanmar’s junta released a statement on Monday night saying
it had informed this year’s Asean chair Brunei that it could
only “accept the participation of Head of State or Head of
Government or his Ministerial level representative” at the
It added Myanmar “would be pursuing due process” under the
bloc’s charter to resolve the dispute about participation at
On the agenda for Tuesday’s opening day were three separate
meetings between the Asean leaders and representatives of the
United States, China and South Korea.
Biden will lead the U.S. delegation for the Asean-United
States summit, the U.S. embassy in Brunei said.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.