ASEAN foreign ministers kick off annual meeting in Jakarta

Jakarta, Jul 11 (EFE).- The foreign ministers of the countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations began their annual meeting Tuesday in Jakarta, marked this year by the crisis in Myanmar and international conflict threats.

Indonesian Minister Retno Marsudi began the meeting with a speech aimed at warning about the hypothetical use of nuclear weapons, in the context of the war between Russia and Ukraine and the growing tension between China and the United States.

“No weapon is more powerful and destructive than nuclear weapons. And with nuclear weapons we are only one miscalculation away from apocalypse and global catastrophe,” she said in her opening speech.

The Southeast Asian bloc, whose 10 countries are signatories to the international convention for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, was also attended by the heads of diplomacy from Moscow, Beijing and Washington, among other main partners.

“The threat is imminent, so we can no longer play a waiting game (…) We must come as a united front before Nuclear Weapon States,” Marsudi said.

Tuesday and Wednesday will focus on meetings between ASEAN members, in which Myanmar’s unstable situation due to the February 2021 military coup is expected to be the main talking point.

Indonesia, which hosts the rotating presidency of the group this year, advocates to pressure Myanmar’s military government over numerous massacres it has committed and the failure to comply with the five points of consensus reached in April 2021 by ASEAN leaders and the junta leader.

This pact includes an end to violence against civilians and an inclusive dialog between all parties to the conflict, among other points, as a road map to return to peace.

Myanmar’s foreign affairs representative – despite it being a member state – is banned from this meeting due to the lack of progress on the agreed points.

Thursday will host the bilateral meetings between ASEAN and its main partners, such as the United States, China, Japan and the European Union, among others.

Multilateral meetings such as the East Asia Forum gathering the US, China and Russia will take place Friday, ending the annual event.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar and has established a roadmap for the inclusion of East Timor. EFE


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