PM Will Not Attend ASEAN Summit But Vows To Support Proposed Action

PM Chan-o-cha

Yesterday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha vowed to support whatever action is proposed by tomorrow’s special ASEAN summit on the political crisis in Myanmar, despite not being able to attend in person.

The Myanmar military, or Tatmadaw, ousted the country’s democratically-elected government on 1st February. Since then Myanmar has seen protests across the country.

The junta started cracking down on protesters, resulting in the deaths of several hundred pro-democracy activists and the detention of more than 3,000 others. The Tatmadaw also launched airstrikes on Karen villages near Thailand’s northwestern border, sending thousands of people fleeing into the kingdom.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently called for a special ASEAN summit and invited several leaders, including Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the Myanmar junta leader, to help resolve the crisis. Gen Chan-o-cha announced this week he could not attend, however, and would instead send Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai to represent him.

Traisuree Taisaranakul, deputy government spokeswoman, said Gen Chan-o-cha conveyed his message to Mr Widodo during a telephone call yesterday.

Gen Chan-o-cha reportedly praised Jakarta for its push for a dialogue on the Myanmar situation. Ms Taisaranakul said Gen Chan-o-cha had expressed concerns about the situation in Myanmar and acknowledged the crisis there posed a challenge to peace and stability in the region.

However, she said the recent local COVID-19 outbreak meant the PM could not attend the summit but had pledged to support whatever action it decided to take. Meanwhile, Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the opposition Move Forward Party, has called on ASEAN leaders to set up a peace process in Myanmar and bring it back to the path of democracy.

Mr Limjaroenrat said the process should be open and transparent and all parties concerned in Myanmar, including the members of the ousted civilian government, ethnic groups, and the military, should be included in the process.