Friday, June 14, 2024
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Home » Thai Foreign Minister Meets With Myanmar’s Detained Suu Kyi

Thai Foreign Minister Meets With Myanmar’s Detained Suu Kyi

by Dmitry Lobzhanidze
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JAKARTA (Kyodo) — Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai recently met with Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and was told that she supports “dialogue without any preconditions” to address her country’s ongoing crisis, ASEAN diplomatic sources said Wednesday.

Don confirmed about the meeting on the sidelines of a two-day foreign ministerial meeting in Jakarta of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations that ended Wednesday and will be followed by a series of meetings with its dialogue partners until Friday.

“At least she is in good health…because most people are concerned more about her health,” Don told reporters, adding that Suu Kyi “encourages dialogue” but did not go into details.

His meeting with her on Sunday was the first confirmed contact between a high-ranking foreign government official and Myanmar’s democracy icon since the country’s military toppled her elected government in a February 2021 coup.

Don briefed about his meeting with Suu Kyi during the ASEAN ministerial retreat Wednesday, the sources said.

One source quoted Don as saying in the ASEAN meeting, “It was the first time ever, and it may signify a fresh opening to a political peace process for Myanmar.”

The Thai minister stressed ASEAN’s priority in facilitating a peace process in Myanmar, which he said must start from two primary stakeholders in the conflict — the military junta and civilian leaders.

The meeting of Don and Suu Kyi, who has been detained since the coup, lasted about two hours, according to the sources. He appears to have visited Suu Kyi at a prison facility in the capital Naypyitaw.

“I observed that she was in good health physically and mentally, and she confirmed it,” the Thai minister was quoted by one of the sources as saying. “She said her living quarters were OK.”

Don said he shared information on Myanmar and world affairs, including the war in Ukraine, with Suu Kyi, according to the sources.

“She said she did not read the newspapers or watch television” provided by the junta because she did not deem the information in state-run media to be objective, Don was quoted as saying.

Thailand has close military ties with Myanmar. Last month, Bangkok hosted an informal meeting outside the ASEAN framework themed on Myanmar’s political crisis and invited the junta-appointed foreign minister Than Swe.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore did not attend the meeting due to Myanmar’s involvement.

At the Jakarta meeting, the participants also discussed the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and territorial disputes in the South China Sea, as well as other regional issues.

A joint communique of the meeting has not been released yet but a draft seen by Kyodo News underlined that the war situation continues “to negatively affect us” and that ASEAN will redouble its efforts to mitigate its impacts.

On the South China Sea issue, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters after meeting with Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi that ASEAN expects that a guideline to speed up the conclusion of a code of conduct in the South China Sea will be adopted soon.

She did not say when but the draft joint communique said it is expected to be adopted during a meeting with China on Thursday.

ASEAN and China are currently drawing up the code of conduct to help avert confrontation in the region, given some ASEAN members have overlapping territorial claims with China and Taiwan.

A series of meetings are scheduled to be held until Friday include the ASEAN Regional Forum, a 27-member regional security forum also involving China, North Korea, Russia and the United States, and a foreign ministerial session of the East Asia Summit.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Source : Mainichi

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