ASEAN warns about Taiwan’s risk of ‘miscalculation’, ready to help dialogue

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi poses for a group photo with ASEAN foreign ministers at the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on August 4, 2022. (Reuters / Soe Zeya Tun)

Southeast Asia regional bloc ASEAN Thursday warned of the risk that volatility caused by tensions in the Taiwan Strait could lead to “miscalculations, serious confrontations, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences between major powers.”

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations made the remarks in a statement from foreign ministers after its president, Cambodia, urged all sides to ease tensions over Taiwan.

The 10-nation bloc meeting in Phnom Penh, attended by a number of other countries including China and the United States, was overshadowed by developments in Taiwan following the visit of US President Nancy Pelosi.

ASEAN is ready to play a constructive role in facilitating peaceful dialogue between all parties “, ASEAN he said calling for maximum restraint and for the parties to refrain from provocative actions. Pelosi’s trip, the highest-level US visit to Taiwan self-government in 25 years, sparked outrage in China, which responded with an explosion of military exercises and other activities on the ground.

Southeast Asian countries tend to take a careful line in trying to balance their relations with China and the United States, wary of meddling between superpowers.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in comments after talks with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, said he was able to compare notes with a close partner “as we head to these very important ASEAN meetings “.

“We have a shared vision together for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Blinken, who is not expected to hold a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Cambodia.

Blink, who is among the 27 foreign ministers who will join ASEAN The security meeting of the Regional Forum on Friday said his meeting with Jaishankar had covered “the situation in Sri Lanka, Burma and a number of other hot spots”.

Pushing Myanmar

the ASEAN talks were expected to focus on the bloc’s failed diplomatic drive to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, also known as Burma, which has been in turmoil since the military took power in a coup last year.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday ASEAN he would be forced to reconsider an agreed peace plan with Myanmar if its military rulers execute more prisoners.

ASEAN he pushed the Burmese junta to follow a peace “consensus” agreed last year and condemned his recent execution of four activists linked to a movement against military rule, the first executions in decades.

The junta of Myanmar last week defended the executions as “justice for the people”, sweeping away a deluge of international condemnation.

Myanmar is not represented this week ASEAN meetings after his military turned down a proposal to send a non-junta representative. ASEAN he excluded the generals until progress in the peace plan is demonstrated.

Some members of ASEAN they have been increasingly strident in their criticisms of Myanmar.

Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Myanmar had “disrespected” the peace effort, adding that “without any progress on this front, further engagement with Myanmar’s military authorities would be of limited value.”

However, some analysts and diplomats are wondering what other measures ASEANwho has a tradition of mutual non-interference in internal affairs, will be ready to take on fellow Myanmar.

—Reporting by Narin Sun and David Brunnstrom in Phnom Penh; Writing by Ed Davies Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Robert Birsel