The Assam Tribune

Myanmar skips ASEAN summit after its military ruler shut out

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26: Southeast Asian leaders on Tuesday began their annual summit without Myanmar, amid a diplomatic standoff over the military-ruled nation"s exclusion from the group"s meetings.

Myanmar skipped the summit in protest after the regional bloc $ the Associatio­n of Southeast Asian Nations, known as ASEAN $ shut out its top general from its meetings.

The group"s refusal to allow Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to represent Myanmar at the summit was its harshest rebuke yet of the country"s military rulers since the generals ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February.

Brunei, who is this year"s chair of the 10-member bloc, invited Myanmar"s highestran­king veteran diplomat, Chan Aye, as a #non-political% representa­tive but she didn"t attend the meeting, two diplomats said. The diplomats requested anonymity as they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Myanmar"s Foreign Ministry vowed late Monday to challenge ASEAN"s unpreceden­ted move to downgrade its participat­ion in the three-day virtual summit, which is being held by video due to coronaviru­s concerns. The ministry said it will only accept representa­tion by the country"s top general, who heads its government and ruling military council, or a ministeria­l-level representa­tive. $ AP

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