Public attention at today's virtual Asean Summit will focus on Myanmar and on the identity of its non-political representative. Myanmar's Foreign Ministry has rejected the Asean foreign ministers' decision last week to exclude coup leader Min Aung Hlaing. It has highlighted the principle of non-interference and stated that "Myanmar will not be in a position to accept any outcome of the discussions and decisions which are... contrary to the provisions, objectives and cherished principles of the Asean Charter".
But the response overlooks the fact that the Asean foreign ministers acted because the Asean Charter adopted in 2007 includes a provision on "adherence to the rule of law, good governance, the principles of democracy and constitutional government" as well as "respect for fundamental freedoms, the promotion and protection of human rights". This was an advance on Asean's position since its founding in 1967 when the focus was on non-intervention and non-interference.