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HomeAsiaAnalysts: As 2023 ASEAN chair, Indonesia must dial up pressure on Myanmar...

Analysts: As 2023 ASEAN chair, Indonesia must dial up pressure on Myanmar junta

'Quick read' news summary

Much is expected from next year’s ASEAN chair Indonesia, especially in resolving the post-coup crisis in Myanmar, but analysts say that little will change unless Jakarta spearheads a hardline stance against the Burmese junta.

Navigating geopolitical rivalries between superpowers will pose another challenge, say analysts. Some predict that Indonesia will likely focus its 2023 chairmanship on regional connectivity, economic recovery, and preventing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from being used as a pawn in the U.S.-China tug-of-war.

Last month, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said that the situation in Myanmar should not define the regional bloc. But how ASEAN deals with the issue will show whether it is an effective regional institution and problem solver, said Shofwan Al Banna Choiruzzad, an international relations lecturer at the University of Indonesia.

“ASEAN is still clinging to the five-point consensus. It needs to be more aggressive in pushing for conflict resolution, such as temporarily freezing Myanmar’s membership if the violence continues,” he told BenarNews.

The Myanmar junta “agreed to” a five-point consensus with ASEAN in April 2021, more than two months after the Burmese generals toppled an elected government. The aim was to restore peace and democracy to Myanmar.

However that country has since descended into a bloody civil conflict, with many analysts saying the violence only increased in the second half of 2022. Nearly 2,700 people have been killed and close to 17,000 have been arrested in Myanmar, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the coup leader, has reneged

Much is expected from next year’s ASEAN chair Indonesia, especially in resolving the post-coup crisis in Myanmar, but analysts say that little will change unless Jakarta spearheads a hardline stance against the Burmese junta. Last month, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said that the situation in Myanmar should not define the regional bloc. The Myanmar junta “agreed to” a five-point consensus with ASEAN in April 2021, more than two months after the Burmese generals toppled an elected government.

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