Tuesday, July 19, 2005

D-Day for Military Junta as ASEAN Chair!

UPDATE: Will the Myanmar (Burma) Military Junta become the chair of ASEAN? With the protests from US, EU and the civil society of the world, will ASEAN led by the illegitimate Military Junta?

All these questions will be answered next week!

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) will take place in Laos from July 28 - 29. Representatives from US and EU will attend the forum. However, as we knew before the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice has said she will not attend ARF, sending her deputy Robert Zoellick instead.

More interesting is the statement of the Malaysian Foreign Minister, Syed Hamid Albar. According to AFP,

"We don't want to tell them that they must get out, or that they must
miss their turn, but they know what they need to do and the action must be done
by them," he said.

"We have given the views not only of ASEAN, but we have also talked
about the feelings and views of other regions and other countries... So I think
they understand very well."

When Syed Hamid tried to continue the guess game, the Secretary General of ASEAN, Ong Keng Yong said to the press yesterday that Myanmar military junta is expected to use a regional meeting in Laos this month to announce it will skip its scheduled chairmanship of ASEAN in 2006.

As the Military Junta is an illegitimate ruler in Burma, ASEAN members should reaafirm their position to ensure the roadmap of democratization in Burma. However, most of the ASEAN government also lack of morality and credibility to request the military junta to do that. Their own domestic undemocratic practices should be corrected as well.

Thus, ASEAN will be less significant and weaker in term of long term engagement and development. While emphasised on the economic and security cooperation, ASEAN should prevail the human rights and democracy practice in the whole region.