Hun Sen Mulls Visit to Myanmar

Hun Sen speaks at the inauguration ceremony of government-funded facilities and infrastructure in Preah Sihanouk province on Thursday.

PM questions junta’s exclusion from ASEAN

PHNOM PENH--Prime Minister Hun Sen says he intends to visit Myanmar without any preconditions in an attempt to solve the country’s political crisis, which is affecting the unity of ASEAN as Cambodia is set to chair the grouping in 2022.

Hun Sen told an inauguration ceremony of government-funded facilities and infrastructure in Preah Sihanouk province on Thursday that Cambodia would invite Myanmar junta Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin to Phnom Penh on Dec. 6 and 7 to hold talk on the crisis.  

The Prime Minister said he had raised the issue during separate talks with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and visiting Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

“Should we keep the situation of ASEAN minus one or ASEAN 10? Previously, the ASEAN meeting included only nine members,” he said while questioning the need to exclude Myanmar from future meetings.

“I am ready to visit Myanmar without any condition in my capacity as the Cambodian Prime Minister.”

The Prime Minister didn’t say exactly when he might visit but would take place after assuming the ASEAN chair. He would think about it in the future as ASEAN chairman.    

In an unprecedented move, ASEAN decided to exclude the Myanmar junta regime from its summit in November after the junta failed to respond to ASEAN’s five-point recommendations. Instead, the other members agreed to invite a non-political representative.

The United Nations has deferred a decision on recognizing the Myanmar junta as the country’s representative.

Hun Sen mentioned the UN  decision but said the ASEAN charter does not require the dismissal of members. He questioned the necessity of Myanmar leaving ASEAN to satisfy its partners, saying ASEAN minus one is not ASEAN.

Myanmar descended into violence and civil disorder after the military staged a coup to depose the civilian government in February. As of Sept. 30, more than 1,000 people were reported to have been killed by the junta while more than 8,500 people have been arrested, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners’ report.

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