Glass half empty or glass half full? ASEAN and Myanmar

Last week’s ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) meeting in Singapore produced some very muted criticism of the military junta in Myanmar:

ASEAN foreign ministers, frustrated after years of fruitless overtures to Myanmar to reform, expressed “deep disappointment” in a statement on Sunday that the ruling generals had extended Suu Kyi’s house arrest.

That’s nearly as softly worded a criticism as you could get, but just as it is extremely unusual for African leaders to criticise each other over their internal affairs, so is also the case in South East Asian. These words are therefore potentially a significant departure from the past. Another missed opportunity for international pressure or a hopeful sign of things to come? Time will tell.

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