ASEAN States Object As China Lobbies for Myanmar Junta To Join Summit

Communist China's envoy has lobbied Southeast Asian nations to let Myanmar’s military ruler attend a regional summit being hosted by Chinese leader next week but has met stiff opposition, diplomatic sources said on Thursday.

Myanmar’s standing as a member of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations has been thrown into the spotlight by a Feb. 1 coup, when its military ousted the elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, sparking bloody turmoil.

Several ASEAN members, dismayed by the return of crisis and the suppression of democracy in Myanmar, have sought to press its generals by excluding them from ASEAN meetings.

In an unprecedented decision last month, ASEAN leaders blocked Myanmar’s military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, from an ASEAN summit after he failed to honour pledges to allow an ASEAN envoy to meet lawmakers overthrown in the coup.

Instead, ASEAN leaders said a non-political figure from Myanmar should be asked to attend. In the end, Myanmar was not represented.

Four diplomatic and political sources in the region said Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore wanted Min Aung Hlaing to be banned from a Nov. 22 China-ASEAN meeting being hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei have agreed to maintain the same position as the ASEAN summit, said a government source in an ASEAN country who declined to be identified, referring to the demand that Myanmar be represented by a non-political figure.

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