Army chief traveling abroad for the first time since the coup


Min Aung Hlaing

Min Aung Hlaing has many medals, but little public support

The head of the Myanmar Army will meet with an international leader who will be his first known international trip since the army came to power in a coup.

General Min Aung Hlaing will attend the ASEAN Regional Summit on Saturday in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.

The military seized power on February 1 and claimed that there was a fraudulent vote in the 2020 general election.

Since then, many protesters of military affairs have been killed, and more than 700 have been killed.

The meeting in the Indonesian capital will be the first international effort to address the crisis and will be attended by a 10-member leader and foreign minister of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

It is widely expected that Min Aung Hlaing will attend the summit directly, but this has not been confirmed.

Activists called for demonstrations in Jakarta to coincide with his appearance in Jakarta.

“A clear division of action”

Bill Hayton, Associate Fellow, Asia Pacific Program at Chatham House

Despite the large influx of refugees and the risk of civil war, the 10 members of ASEAN are divided on whether to hold a meeting. There are clear signs of division between governments that want to take action and those that do not.

ASEAN appears to be divided along geographical lines, with “mainland” countries (physically closest to China) opposed to intervening in Myanmar and “maritime” countries (farthest from China). The country) is in favor of taking action.

Among the latter groups, host Indonesia is the most sought after in a collective response to the crisis.

But persuading the other nine countries to take a unified stance would be as challenging as persuading Myanmar’s military junta to mitigate the crisis.

Banner blaming the general as a dictator

Protesters across Myanmar want to end the coup

Blocks take pride in their ability to persuade rather than force, but when the organization is not united, that ability is much weaker.

The Thai Prime Minister and the Philippine President said they would only send their foreign ministers.

Other members of the block include Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Host Indonesia and Myanmar itself.

Although asked to expel Myanmar, also known as Burma, from ASEAN, historically the members have not been involved in each other’s internal affairs.

UN spokesman Stephen Dujaric said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an ASEAN summit to resolve the crisis and prevent “potentially significant cross-border humanitarian consequences in Myanmar.” It was.

Myanmar’s UN Special Envoy, Christine Schlaner Bergener, is in Jakarta for a meeting beside the summit.

Massive protests have taken place throughout Myanmar since the military took control and declared a state of emergency for a year.

The military alleges that there was widespread fraud in the general elections at the end of last year when elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) returned to power.

The military instead promised to hold “free and fair” elections after the state of emergency.

Over the past few weeks, the military has increased the use of force against protesters. More than 80 people were killed in an incident in Bago earlier this month.

Witnesses told local media that soldiers used heavy weapons and shot anything that moved.