Several countries did not attend the informal Asean conference held in Thailand on Monday with Myanmar’s military, which seized power in a coup in 2021.
An observer speculates that the action by the Prayuth-led government in Bangkok may be an attempt to demonstrate its ‘continuing legitimacy’ in the wake of the pro-democracy election outcome in May.
According to observers, Bangkok’s caretaker government may be claiming “legitimacy” weeks after the election and may even be “setting the tone” for the next administration by trying to host a contentious regional gathering featuring Myanmar military figures who are ostracized worldwide.
In an effort to end the political unrest in its neighbor and restart relations with the military there, which has been engaged in brutal battles with armed opposition groups ever since taking power in a coup in February 2021, Thailand conducted discussions with the foreign minister of the Myanmar junta on Monday.
According to an invitation seen by Reuters and confirmed by sources, Bangkok’s outgoing military-backed government invited Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) foreign ministers, including the one chosen by Myanmar’s junta, to discuss a plan for the group to “fully re-engage Myanmar at the leaders’ level”.