Home » The Philippines Replaces Myanmar as Chair of ASEAN for 2026
Asean Asia Indonesia News Philippines

The Philippines Replaces Myanmar as Chair of ASEAN for 2026

Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said that the Philippines will serve as chairman of ASEAN in 2026 replacing Myanmar, a country which is currently still in the midst of a crisis.

“Everything must be confirmed now, and we have confirmed that the 2026 chairmanship will be held by the Philippines,” said Retno when met by journalists after the ASEAN Summit retreat session in Jakarta on Tuesday, September 5 2023.

Myanmar has been beset by violence and economic turmoil since the military seized power in a 2021 coup. The Tatmadaw, the country’s military, has launched a crackdown on its opponents.

Initially President Ferdinand Marcos Jr , at the ASEAN Summit on Tuesday, announced that the Philippines was ready for the bloc in 2026. “We will strengthen our community-building foundation and navigate ASEAN as the country begins a new chapter,” he said without giving a reason for accepting the chairmanship, according to a statement from Presidential palace.

ASEAN Chair is determined by alphabetical order of membership names. Next year Laos will fill this position and 2025 will be Malaysia’s turn. Meanwhile, if according to the rules, Myanmar will indeed take office in 2026.

ASEAN, since the end of 2021, has banned the Myanmar junta from attending high-level meetings until it can be seen that there has been significant progress in resolving the crisis known as the five points of consensus. At this week’s meeting, there was no Myanmar representative either at the ASEAN summit or the foreign ministers meeting.

Director of ASEAN Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sidharto Suryodipuro said that the Philippines’ position to replace Myanmar in 2026 was a bloc decision based on the initiative of Indonesia, as chairman this year. 

He admitted that he had not heard a response from parties in Myanmar, but said that there had been communication after the decision was taken, including with the military junta. “This is ASEAN’s decision, not a decision from any one party in Myanmar,” said Sidaharto when met by journalists on Tuesday, September 5 2023.

The leaders of Southeast Asian Nations admit there has been no significant progress in implementing a peaceful solution to resolve the Myanmar crisis known as the Five Points of Consensus. In overcoming the Myanmar crisis, the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta on Tuesday, September 5 2023, agreed to the formation of a troika.

ASEAN agreed to a five-point consensus after the coup in Myanmar erupted in February 2021. The peaceful solution includes an immediate end to violence; organizing dialogue between all parties; appointment of special envoys; allowing humanitarian assistance from ASEAN; and allowing special envoys to visit Myanmar to meet with all parties.

The troika in question is cooperation in dealing with the Myanmar crisis between the current ASEAN chair, the previous year’s chair and the next year’s chair. This is stated in a document of ASEAN leaders’ review and decision on the implementation of five point consensus.

“For the continuity of handling the issue, because everyone understands, this situation cannot change in one year,” said Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi when met by journalists after the ASEAN Summit retreat session in Jakarta on Tuesday, September 5 2023.

Indonesia has carried out very intensive engagement during its 9 months as chairman of ASEAN. More than 145 engagements with 70 stakeholders have been carried out. Jakarta sees that trust is starting to emerge between one stakeholder and another, except with the military junta.

Source : Tempo.co