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ASEAN leaders including Myanmar's top general, Min Aung Hlaing, agreed in April 2021 on five steps toward resolving the crisis in the war-torn member state. Only one has been accomplished, and the bloc's unity and credibility are on the line.   © Nikkei montage/Source photo by Reuters
Asia Insight

Myanmar tests Indonesia's resolve as ASEAN fissures deepen

Bloc's 2023 chair works quietly to overcome two years of Five Point Consensus failure

GWEN ROBINSON, Nikkei Asia editor-at-large | ASEAN

PHNOM PENH -- Two years after they gathered in Jakarta to forge a consensus on the Myanmar crisis, Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders have rarely faced such disunity as they prepare for an uneasy summit in Indonesia from May 6 to 11.

In what one regional diplomat described as a "tail wagging the dog" dynamic, the spiraling violence in Myanmar under a savage military regime and determined resistance forces has opened diplomatic and political fault lines while undermining the 10-member group's international image. Other differences -- over attitudes to China and the U.S., or issues such as refugees and human rights -- are also threatening ASEAN unity like never before.

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