Asean summit to make hard decisions about Myanmar
The Nov 11 Asean summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, will be crunch time for the bloc’s leaders.
The 10-nation bloc has been grappling in vain with Myanmar’s political and humanitarian crisis for almost two years. It now has to decide how to respond to this impasse, and this response may ultimately reshape the consensus-driven grouping.
Like on previous occasions over the year, Myanmar will likely not be represented at this summit. Although several ministers controlled by the Myanmar junta continue to be part of Asean proceedings, the bloc has shut junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and his Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin out of high-level meetings by inviting only “non-political” representatives from Myanmar.
High hopes for G-20 power talks to ease Ukraine crisis
The bar for success is low, but hopes are high that the Group of 20 (G-20) Leaders’ Summit on Nov 15 and 16 in Bali, Indonesia, could be the pressure valve to ease growing tensions on various fronts, including the war between Russia and Ukraine.
As far as first-time G-20 president Indonesia is concerned, the main focus is the Covid-19 pandemic and economic recovery – in keeping with the grouping’s usual purpose of discussing key issues of the global economy – not politics. But the elephant in the room will not be ignored, analysts say.
“G-20 this year is not going to be business as usual, that’s for sure,” said Dr Shafiah Muhibat, an international relations analyst at Jakarta-based think-tank Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Geopolitical tensions complicate economic goals of Apec
Typically a cut-and-dried meeting with a focus on regional economic growth, the Apec Economic Leaders’ Summit happening on Nov 18 and 19 is proving to be a handful. This is as fragile geopolitical relations, spiralling inflation and a troubled domestic front for host Thailand threaten to overshadow commitments to rebuild the regional economy in the post-pandemic era.
Already, Thailand has been walking a diplomatic tightrope as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) chair – it took on the position in November 2021. A trade ministers’ meeting in May failed to issue a customary joint statement after five member economies staged a walkout in protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February.
November summits in South-east Asia
Global leaders will gather in South-east Asia from Nov 8 to Nov 19 for a series of high-level meetings, beginning with the Asean meetings in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, moving on to Bali, Indonesia for the G20 summit and ending in Bangkok, Thailand for the Apec meetings. Much is at stake at this year’s summits, given a global economy in trouble because of the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war, and an impending climate crisis if more is not done quickly enough to deal with global warming. Here’s a look at what to expect at these conferences.