Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta a “big flop” in failing to maintain, let
alone increase, pressure on Myanmese military junta to keep its pledges on
democratization and national reconciliation, marking a new depth in the
failure of the ASEAN “constructive engagement” policy with Yangon
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The 37th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Jakarta is a “big flop” in failing to maintain, let alone increase, pressure on the Myanmese military junta to keep its pledges on democratization and national reconciliation, marking a new depth in the failure of the ASEAN “constructive engagement” policy with Yangon.
The Myanmese military junta has reneged on multiple pledges to ASEAN leaders on democratisation and national reconciliation, such as:
It is a sad day for ASEAN that the Jakarta AMM had backed down from its Phnom Penh communique last July by dropping its public call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, substituting instead the watered-down and meaningless statement which merely “underlined the need for the involvement of all strata of Myanmar society in the ongoing national convention” – flying in the face of the stark realities that Aung San Suu Kyi is still under house arrest since her redetention in May last year and the boycott of the NLD.
The softening and abandonment of the ASEAN stand in insisting that the Myanmese military junta must “substantiate its path to democracy and reconciliation” by releasing Aung San Suu Kyi and other pro-democracy leaders from detention and engaging them in talks is a “black day” in ASEAN history and does not augur well for ASEAN’s international relations, in particular the ASEM Summit between Europe and Asia scheduled for Hanoi in October or 2006.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman