Philippines’ Marcos Says Myanmar a Challenging Problem for ASEAN

Mon Nov 20 2023
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MANILA: Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos has expressed that addressing the conflict in military-ruled Myanmar has proven challenging for the Southeast Asian bloc ASEAN, with scant advancement towards a resolution amid escalating hostilities.

During a live-streamed forum in Hawaii on Monday, Marcos addressed the complexity of the issue involving the humanitarian impact within ASEAN, highlighting the organization’s commitment.

Since Myanmar’s military coup in 2021, displacing over a million people and disrupting a fragile decade of democracy, the United Nations has highlighted the resultant conflict and economic turmoil. Marcos emphasized the challenging nature of resolving this issue, as the junta’s crackdown spurred a burgeoning resistance movement.

ASEAN’s stance includes prohibiting top generals from attending meetings until they commit to the bloc’s two-year peace roadmap. Notably, the Philippines will assume ASEAN’s chair in 2026, taking Myanmar’s place as the host nation for that year.

Since the previous month, an additional tens of thousands of individuals have faced displacement due to the military engaging in a coordinated offensive against an alliance formed by three ethnic-minority groups and pro-democracy fighters.

According to Marcos, who referenced recent escalations, the junta has experienced a decline in support from its military ranks. He highlighted that the humanitarian toll of the conflict has significantly surged in recent years, with Filipino citizens also being affected as victims of human trafficking in the region.

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