Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2707

Legislators urge ASEAN governments to engage China and India on

Kuala Lumpur,23 August( ASEAN legislators urged their governments to form a “triangle of influence” with China and India in order to secure urgently-needed reforms in Myanmar. Singaporean MP Charles Chong said: “ASEAN now needs to demonstrate that it is willing and capable to tackle conflict resolution in the region, and accept its role as ‘bridge builder’ between China and India. ASEAN should create a triangle of influence that will proactively persuade and pressure Myanmar to deliver genuine reforms.

“All of us – ASEAN, China and India, will benefit from genuine reforms in Myanmar, just as all of us will suffer if Myanmar’s situation continues to deteriorate,” stressed Mr Chong, who chairs the Singapore chapter of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC). Mr Chong was speaking at a seminar, “ASEAN and Myanmar’s Democracy” held on Monday (20 August) on the sidelines of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in Kuala Lumpur.

Official delegates and AIPMC members attended the meeting - from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Singapore. Representatives of embassies, international and local NGOs were also present.

Malaysian MP and AIPMC President Zaid Ibrahim said that ASEAN’s credibility hinges on its ability to be able to solve the issue of Myanmar. “If we cannot solve this issue peacefully, how can ASEAN be taken seriously on the world stage?” He reminded participants that the serious deterioration of Myanmar’s political and economic situation in its 10 years of ASEAN membership had significant impacts on the entire region in terms of drugs, disease and displaced people.

The initiative to push ASEAN to actively engage China and India marked renewed resolve by the parliamentarians to accelerate their campaign for reforms in Myanmar.

Chair of the AIPMC’s Cambodian Chapter, Son Chhay, also called for other ASEAN dialogue partners such as the European Union and the United States to support the AIPMC’s initiative and engage China on Myanmar reforms.

Meanwhile, Djoko Susilo, Chair of the Indonesian caucus said that Indonesian legislators were determined to maintain pressure on the Myanmar authorities. “We may block the appointment of an Indonesian ambassador to Myanmar. The position has been vacant and MPs will consider keeping it vacant as a symbolic gesture of displeasure.” Under the Indonesian system, the appointment of Ambassadors requires the parliamentary endorsement.

Philippines legislator Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel said that AIPMC members will consider all options in their determination to support genuine reforms in Myanmar. “We must explore every measure that ranges from persuasion to pressure. We must work together effectively with other regional stakeholders to push in the same direction, and that includes China and India who are important partners of Myanmar,” she said.

- Asian Tribune -

Share this