The Asean leaders will convene their first physical meeting on April 24 to discuss the Myanmar issue.
The summit meeting is expected to provide a certain political leverage on the military regime to stop the violence against the people and restore normalcy. The political settlement for the Myanmar issue is an uphill struggle. There is no solution in sight.
The Myanmar crisis has been and will remain the main headache for Asean. In the near term, this unfolding political crisis will be the hot issue in the upcoming 13th ASEM Summit (ASEM13) which will be hosted by Cambodia in November 2021.
As a matter of fact, Asean can only exert diplomatic pressures, not economic and diplomatic sanctions to any of its member state, including Myanmar. But at least Asean can send a clear message to the military regime that violence is not a solution.
Putting people first should be the way forward. It is against the vision of Asean community building which focus on people-centered and people-oriented community.
Asean must be bold when it comes to the matter of principle. A principled and value-driven Asean can save the future of this regional body. Peace, stability, prosperity, democracy, and human rights are intrinsically interconnected. We therefore need to promote a holistic solution to the Myanmar crisis.
Being the only country in the Mekong region that is able to maintain regular elections since 1998, Cambodia can become a beacon of hope and democracy in the region. Cambodia should seize this opportunity to play the role as a bridging state in the Mekong region, contributing to the maintenance and promotion of regional peace, political stability and democratic values.