Archive for the ‘Singapore’ Category

Singapore Thinks ASEAN Has Not Been Effective When It Comes In Myanmar

August 24, 2021

Despite protests and a violent crackdown in Myanmar, the foreign minister of Singapore says progress by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has not been as effective as expected.
The United Nations and many other countries have urged ASEAN, which has ten members including Myanmar, to restore stability through diplomacy.
Despite protests and a violent crackdown in Myanmar, the foreign minister of Singapore says progress by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has not been as effective as expected.
The United Nations and many other countries have urged ASEAN, which has ten members including Myanmar, to restore stability through diplomacy.
ASEAN announced a five-point consensus in April aimed at resolving the crisis. In early August, the bloc appointed Brunei’s second minister of foreign affairs as a special envoy to Myanmar.
Balakrishnan hoped that progress would be reported on the envoy’s visit before the ASEAN summit in November. For the visit to be meaningful, the military must allow the envoy access to all stakeholders.
Balakrishnan said the key test would be how they interact with our special envoy.
Following Myanmar’s February 1 coup, the death toll has topped 1,000, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which has documented security forces’ killings. Over the past month, coronavirus infections caused the humanitarian crisis to worsen, overwhelming the health system.
Balakrishnan called the situation “dire” and said ASEAN was working to be constructive, facilitate dialogue, and deliver humanitarian assistance.
Asked whether ASEAN or Singapore had engaged with the shadow National Unity Government, Balakrishnan replied, “We have maintained lines of communication.” “We aren’t trying to make things difficult. We don’t take sides. Yet (military authorities) know we will engage everyone.”
Small but influential in Southeast Asia, Singapore is a key economic and political force. Singapore’s close relationship with Myanmar as one of its largest investors gives it leverage in Myanmar, according to rights groups.
According to official Myanmar data since 1988, the city-state had a cumulative investment approval of $24.1bn as of 2020. As a result, it was the largest source of foreign capital there, ahead of China.
Balakrishnan said Singapore’s “so-called leverage was overstated” since the total also included multinationals that had invested in Myanmar.
He said economic sanctions would affect the people but have little impact on the military authorities, who can withstand isolation better.
ASEAN has not discussed expelling or suspending Myanmar, the minister said, adding that the group wants to be constructive, but doesn’t want to interfere in domestic affairs.
Reuters spoke to him two days before US Vice President Kamala Harris visits Vietnam and Singapore. Officials say the trip will demonstrate that the Biden administration is committed to a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and that the United States is in the region “to stay.”
He said progress can be made in areas such as pandemic recovery, cybersecurity, digital economy, green economy, and the digital economy. There’s more to international relations than feel-good diplomacy.
Meanwhile, protests continued across Myanmar on Saturday, calling on the military to restore democracy to the country.
In social media posts, protestors in Mandalay and Kachin also called upon the international community to recognize the shadow National Unity Government, made up mostly of the overthrown elected leaders.

Note: ASEAN has never interfered in one of its countries’ affairs. It is one of the reasons while the military has controlled Myanmar for so long.