Excluding Myanmar from Japan’s ASEAN Summit Criticized

Monday, December 18, 2023

Courtesy of MOFA)

By Caroline Garcia

TOKYO- Monday December 18, 2023 ( PanOrient News)

Myanmar’s exclusion from the ASEAN-Japan Summit of December 16-18, marking the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, has been criticized by Myanmar’s diplomatic sources as contrary to the very principles of the ASEAN charter. The sources added that Japan’ negativity toward Myanmar ignored the country’s three decades of active participation - a participation that will continue with ASEAN community building efforts and according to the five-point consensus, added the source.

“Some of the ASEAN’s external partners’ attempt to sideline Myanmar’s representation in ASEAN is contrary to the principles and guidelines set out in the ASEAN Charter, especially “respecting the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all ASEAN Member States”, guaranteed by Article 2 and “equal rights and obligations” guaranteed by Article 5 of the ASEAN Charter,” Myanmar diplomatic sources told PanOrient News.

A Temple in Yangon

Japan, meanwhile, says that the history of ASEAN-Japan cooperation spans 50 years, and the recent event is a reminder to the world of Japan’s efforts toward a free and open international order based on the rule of law.

“We have not invited Myanmar’s leader because the government of Japan does not recognize the legitimacy of the coup d’etat by Myanmar’s military,” a high-ranking government official told PanOrient News. “The second reason for excluding Myanmar is that ASEAN restricts the attendance of Myanmar at the political level to ASEAN-related summits.”

The Summit included a number of bilateral summits for heads of state and other senior politicians.

Japan’ Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met in Tokyo with Malaysian Prime Minister Y.A.B. Dato’ Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim, Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and other leaders during the event.

Kishida wrote in The Japan Times: “Japan’s relationship with ASEAN started half a century ago, when we decided to begin official dialogues with ASEAN countries ahead of the rest of the world. Since then, Japan and ASEAN have expanded and deepened relations to become not only major trading and investment partners, but also true friends.”

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