Is the cell structure ASEAN (Association of Southeast Nations) undergoing mitosis, dividing between the wealthy and the poor? This year's chairmanship of the organization belongs to Myanmar. Anyone who is generally familiar with Myanmar might find this strange. The nation, formerly known as Burma, has been isolated from the international community. The ongoing house arrest of democratically elected and Nobel Prize-winning Aung San Suu Kyi by the ruling military junta has been a major point of contention. ASEAN, noted for a non-interference policy regarding the domestic policies of its member states, in a precedent setting move some member nations have hinted towards an exception.
"Politicians in ASEAN countries Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore have been seeking to prevent Myanmar's military rulers from taking over as chair next year. The United States and the European Union have also warned ties with ASEAN may be frayed and that they may boycott further ASEAN meetings." Full article"
In the last days, Myanmar received official support from Vietnam, despite the embarrasment Mynamar caused Vietnam less than a year ago. Vietnam, then hosting ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting, which brings together 13 Asian states and the 25 European Union members), fought to support Myanmar's membership into the organization in spite strong resistance from several ASEM European nations. After Vietnam's successful campaign to induct Mynamar into ASEM with assurances from Myanmar toward making progress in its democratic and human rights reforms, the military junta returned to Myanmar and further consolidated its power - in effect ignoring the agreements made just weeks before. Now, Vietnam steps up the plate, risking strike two by offering unquestioned support for Mynamar:
"As both countries are members of ASEAN, Vietnam and Myanmar share common viewpoints and interests," said the Vietnamese daily Nhan Dan, "Vietnam supports Myanmar's regional and international integration and its participation in the activities of ASEAN and ASEM.
Once again, emboldened, Burma shrugs off Asean criticism, with expressed support from Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. With Myanmar, the nations are among ASEAN's poorest, with Malaysia and Singapore among the wealthiest.
Posted by on April 10, 2005 9:54 PM | Permalink