Tue, 26 Sep 2023

Many ASEAN Air Chiefs skip Myanmar meeting amidst junta accusations

Khalid Umar Malik
17 Sep 2023, 15:47 GMT+10

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar - Several Southeast Asian air force chiefs did not attend a conference in Myanmar after the ASEAN regional bloc accused the junta of targeting civilians in its post-coup crackdown.

The snub came after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) accused the junta last week of failing to implement a peace plan agreed upon with the bloc to end the violence sparked by the military regime's coup.

Myanmar is still an ASEAN member, but its military rulers have been barred from attending top-level bloc meetings since their takeover.

Every year, the heads of the ten-nation bloc's air forces meet to discuss defense cooperation, extremism combat, and disaster relief.

Myanmar hosted the gathering this year, which began on Wednesday and ended on Friday.

According to the junta's information team, the air force chiefs of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore did not travel to attend the meeting.

According to the junta's information team, air force chiefs from Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam arrived in the military-built capital Naypyidaw on Tuesday.

Myanmar Air Force Chief Htun Aung met with each of the visiting officials separately and discussed "issues of cooperation between the ASEAN air forces," according to the statement.

According to the United Nations, ASEAN has led useless diplomatic efforts to defuse Myanmar's bloody crisis, which has displaced more than 1.5 million people.

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