A spokesperson for the Thai Foreign Ministry expressed the country’s concern for its struggling neighbor Myanmar and the violence raging there. They called on the country, mired in protests and violent skirmishes against the military junta that seized power on February 1, to follow actions agreed upon by the leaders of surrounding nations in Southeast Asia.
In April, leaders and representatives of the ASEAN alliance countries gathered in Jakarta to work towards a resolution of the Burmese civil unrest and military takeover that turned into a humanitarian crisis. The group reached consensus on a 5-point plan for moving forward, including ending the violence, creating a special envoy to visit the country and continuing political talks.
So far, the Burmese military junta has made little or no progress on these actions and shows no signs of improvement in the near future. The representative of Thailand said that the Thai government was closely monitoring what was happening in Myanmar and was very concerned about the violent clashes across the country. He stressed the need to release all political prisoners and take concrete steps to immediately achieve the Five Point Consensus.
Today, more than 4,500 Burmese dissidents are detained and at least 847 deaths have been reported as the military junta has failed to curb protests and insurgent groups working against them. Daily protests in cities across the country have not abated since the February 1 coup, and insurgents who have been in conflict with and with the military for decades have found an opportunity to attack in the chaos.
Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing recently said he was surprised so many people opposed his coup, even though the leaders and the party he toppled won 80% of parliament.
On Friday, two ASEAN representatives met with Min Aung Hlaing but did not get any concrete results. Critics say the ASEAN list of demands was a weak and toothless response, and this weekend’s meeting yielded no benefit but served to give the junta leader a greater air of legitimacy.
Amid the gentle and actionless response from countries in reason, many eyes turned to Thailand, the country that has the longest common border with neighboring Myanmar. While Thailand has kept a watchful eye on fears of refugees and possibly violence across the border, but has taken no visible action.
Some point out that Thailand’s current ruling class is the result of its own similar military coup barely 7 years ago, but with less violence, bloodshed or humanitarian crisis. Asked why Thailand cannot be seen doing more for Myanmar, the government spokesman said traditional Thai diplomacy is calm and low-key, and many actions are out of sight of the government. public, in a way he considers more effective.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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