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Last Thursday, Southeast Asian leaders met in Cambodia for the first day of the ASEAN conference, a summit held every two years by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It ended on Sunday. This year, one elephant in the room was what to do about Myanmar and its military leadership. Last year, ASEAN introduced the "Five-Point Consensus," which demands an end to violence in the country. Myanmar's junta government doesn't seem interested in going along with this.
ASEAN didn't allow Myanmar's leaders to join any official meetings. Myanmar refused to send non-political representation, but some of its officials attended pre-summit meetings. On Friday, ASEAN delegates called on Myanmar to make actual progress on the Consensus or be barred from the bloc's meetings. They decided there needs to be an established timeline for peace. But, Myanmar's government already objected, rejecting ASEAN's recommendations.
"We are now enjoying the fruits of our efforts and moving towards sustainable growth. We should always be vigilant as the current socio-economic situation in ASEAN as well as in the whole world remains fragile and divided," said Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, during his opening remarks.
"The fact that ASEAN still hasn't suspended the junta's participation throughout the entire ASEAN system represents a continued lack of leadership on this issue and tacit permission for the junta to continue its crimes," said Patrick Phongsathorn of Fortify Rights, an international human rights group.