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Myanmar Junta Defense Minister Snubbed by ASEAN

Junta's Defense Minister Mya Tun Oo at the ASEAN defense summit in June. / Khmer Times

Myanmar junta’s defense minister General Mya Tun Oo was excluded from the ongoing meeting of Southeast Asian defense chiefs by host country Cambodia, the regime’s first ASEAN Defense Ministers’ (ADM) snub.

The meeting of ASEAN defense ministers was joined by the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe and Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh from November 21 to 23 in Siem Reap.

The Khmer Times reported that the regime’s lack of progress with the bloc’s five-point peace initiative meant the defense minister General Tea Banh had invited “a non-political representative” to represent the junta at the retreat, which was refused by the regime.

ASEAN has barred junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and his foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin from its summits and foreign ministerial meetings since last year as the junta has failed to respect the bloc’s peace plan.

But the bloc had allowed some senior representatives to attend ASEAN meetings.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently called to ban the junta from the bloc’s events.

Mya Tun Oo attended the 16th ADM in Phnom Penh in June.

Zaw Zaw Soe, the deputy director-general of the defense ministry’s Department of International Affairs, also attended an ASEAN defense meeting in Phnom Penh in May.

Since the 2021 coup, around 1.1 million people have been forcibly displaced by the junta terror campaign. The junta has killed more than 2,525 people and arrested over 16,000 and committed widespread torture, indiscriminate airstrikes and shelling, burned villages and looted public property, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners rights group.