6 June 2024

Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), winding up their meeting in Jakarta on Thursday, reiterated condemnation of the ongoing violence in Myanmar and welcomed Thailand’s role in trying to resolve the crisis as being “a positive development.”

Amid reports of divergent views among ASEAN members on the crisis, the foreign ministers reaffirmed their unity and reiterated their adherence to the so-called five-point consensus in dealing with the situation in Myanmar.

The foreign ministers said in the joint communique, issued at the end of the meeting, that they were briefed by Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai on “Thailand’s recent activities in Myanmar, which a number of ASEAN Member States viewed as a positive development.”

Don told his ASEAN counterparts on Wednesday that he recently visited Myanmar, during which he met Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi who called for a dialogue among the parties in conflict.  Don was the first foreign dignitary allowed to see Myanmar’s democracy icon after she was arrested following the military coup in early 2021.

Thai PBS learned that arguments over the wording on this particular issue had delayed the issuance of the joint communique.

The communique also condemned those responsible for the ongoing violence in the strife-torn country.

“We strongly condemn the continued acts of violence, including air strikes, artillery shelling and destruction of public facilities,” said the communique.

On Wednesday, the current ASEAN chair Indonesia urged the group’s foreign ministers to remain united in tackling the escalating violence in Myanmar.

The ministers also “urged all parties involved to take concrete action to halt indiscriminate violence immediately, denounce any escalation and create a conducive environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and inclusive national dialogue.”

They said they also discussed the South China Sea, where several members have overlapping maritime claims with China, the region’s increasingly powerful neighbor.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi attended ASEAN-related meetings in Jakarta and held bilateral talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Without naming China, ASEAN foreign ministers said “concerns were expressed by some Ministers on the land reclamations, activities, serious incidents in the area, including actions that put the safety of all persons at risk.”