Ivory Coast (AP) Ministers of foreign affairs from Southeast Asia’s nations are gathering in Cambodia’s capital to address the upheaval in Myanmar and other topics. As the Ukraine incursion and Beijing’s rising ambitions in the region continue to escalate, they are joined by top officials from the United States, China, Russia, and other international powers.
This will be the second time in a month that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend the same event. Still, it’s not certain if they will meet.
Both were in Bali, Indonesia, for the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting, which began in early July. Blinken called Moscow on Friday to request the release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, among other things, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
We can’t forget about Wang Yi. It is widely expected that China would take advantage of its partnership with Russia to help bring peace and restore civilian rule in Myanmar following a February 2021 coup.
Washington is fighting back against China’s growing economic and military supremacy in Asia, which has prompted these conversations.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Taiwan. Zhao Lijian of the Chinese Foreign Ministry warned last week that “Those who play with fire will perish by it,”
There have been threats of military action against Taiwan since it is seen as part of China’s territory. As long as Washington retains military and other informal ties with Taiwan, it will recognize Beijing as China’s official capital.
Xi Jinping, China’s president, was adamantly opposed to Pelosi’s visit, which would have made her the highest-ranking American politician to visit Taiwan in more than two decades.
According to Australia’s Lowy Institute’s Southeast Asia Program Director, Susannah Patton, the invasion by Russia of Ukraine, impact on global food and energy prices, and escalating China-US tensions are alarming the 10 ASEAN members.
“This is one of the first regional meetings of foreign ministers since 2019, so meetings like this are a really important opportunity for the United States, China, and even Russia to demonstrate their support for ASEAN and present their narratives about their commitment to regional security and prosperity,” she explained.
There has been a recent power struggle between Blinken, Wang, and Lavrov. After that, Blinken heads to the Philippines and Africa.
In May, Vice President Biden convened the first-ever ASEAN summit in Washington. One of Vice President Biden’s top national security aides was nominated as ambassador to the organization during these sessions.
Last month, Wang traveled to Southeast Asia after spending the previous month in the Pacific Islands with Lavrov.
China is accelerating negotiations with ASEAN, which includes four nations in disagreement over Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea, he said during that trip. A nonaggression convention known as a “code of conduct” is intended to convert the body of water “into an ocean of peace and cooperation.”
The ASEAN summits are attended by India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
For Australia, the ASEAN states are important. According to Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong, the “Quad” alliance of the United States, India, and New Japan should benefit the area.
She stressed in Singapore that we’ll always keep your security in mind because of our ASEAN centrality.
It’s clear to us how they’re connected. We think Australia’s security should not come from Asia but from Asia itself, particularly Southeast Asia.
ASEAN includes Myanmar, the country where the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration in 2021. There are no political representatives from Myanmar attending. Hence the country will not be sending any.
In the face of increasing violence, ASEAN cannot carry out a five-point deal it reached with Myanmar last year. An ASEAN special envoy is to be sent to meet with all parties to address the situation, provide humanitarian relief, and put an end to the bloodshed.
After Suu Kyi’s ouster, nonviolent protests were brutally crushed. There is a civil war taking on, according to United Nations experts.
In the opinion of Blinken, ASEAN isn’t doing enough to help Myanmar (formerly Burma). At the end of July, the military-led administration resumed the practice of hanging political prisoners. “A crime against humanity,” said Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
Before the sessions, Saifuddin urged that the committee rescind or alter its five-point agreement. ASEAN’s special envoy must also meet with the National Unity Government, a covert civilian authority outside Myanmar, to create a new political framework.
As he put it, “the ultimate goal is an economically prosperous Burma that is democratic, inclusive, and just.”
Myanmar must be addressed during the ASEAN summit, according to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
Military rule has resulted in more than 2,100 deaths and the detention of over 15,000 individuals.
For Marsudi, everything that has happened in Myanmar — including the use of the death sentence for political prisoners — represents a step backward rather than forwards.
ASEAN also includes the countries of Burma, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Brunei.