Locsin doubts move to suspend Myanmar from ASEAN can be achieved

Published March 10, 2021, 2:57 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday expressed doubt that a consensus to suspend Myanmar’s membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) could be attained.

Protesters wearing traditional Shan dress hold signs as they take part in a demonstration against the Myanmar military coup in Inle lake, Shan state on February 11, 2021. (Photo by Calito / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Locsin said this following reports that 56 parliamentarians and three senate members from Malaysia have issued a statement jointly urging the ASEAN to suspend Myanmar’s membership in the regional bloc.

“You can do that? Suspend membership? I don’t suppose that would require the traditional initiation of consensus because it would never be achieved. Happened when ASEAN wanted to speak up on Rakhine and Myanmar did not object but another member just didn’t show up. Alan frustrated,” Locsin said in a tweet. He was apparently referring to his predecessor, former DFA Secretary and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano who participated in the ASEAN meeting on the Rohingya or the Rakhine crisis in September 2017.

Locsin said ASEAN “is on the ball” concerning the deteriorating situation in Myanmar where dozens of protesters were already killed and scores of others injured in a series of anti-coup rallies being staged in various places in that country.

“ASEAN is on the ball on this. Don’t pay attention to the usual whining human rights self-important mouths who destroyed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi- the only barrier to military tyranny with their inevitably s__t complaints about Rakhine,” the country’s top diplomat said in a separate tweet.

Suu Kyi, along with other democratically elected leaders, were arrested last February 1 in an early morning raid sparking the military’s take over of Myanmar’s state affairs.

In an informal meeting early this month, foreign ministers from the 10-member ASEAN tackled the Myanmar situation where some of them demanded the release of Suu Kyi from detention and the full restoration of democracy in that country.

Locsin, who was in that meeting, told his regional counterparts that “the rest of ASEAN must stand by Myanmar; ready to give what help it is asked by the people and government of Myanmar.” “Our call is for the complete return to the previous state of affairs, with respect to the preeminent role of Aung San Suu Kyi,” he said in a statement.