Thursday January 27th, 2022 12:04PM

Cambodia's Hun Sen in Myanmar to meet military leaders

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BANGKOK (AP) — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is visiting Myanmar, seeking to revive a diplomatic initiative to restore peace following a military takeover nearly a year ago. Critics contend his mission will just legitimize the army’s seizure of power.

Live video on Hun Sen's official Facebook page showed Hun Sen, the first head of state to visit Myanmar since the military seized power last February, being welcomed by senior Myanmar officials after his arrival in the capital of Naypyitaw early Friday. Myanmar's state media also broadcast his arrival.

In his role as the current chairperson of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Hun Sen will meet with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who overthrew Myanmar’s democratically elected government, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and plunging the country into violent conflict and economic disaster.

Hun Sen is himself an authoritarian leader who has held power for 36 years and keeps a tight leash on political activity in Cambodia.

Cambodia holds the rotating chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Hun Sen plans to meet with Myanmar's leader Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to promote a five-point peace plan for Myanmar endorsed by ASEAN last year.

Hun Sen said on Wednesday in Phnom Penh that he had not set any pre-conditions before his visit.

“What I would like to bring to the talks is nothing besides the five points, consensus points that were agreed upon by all ASEAN member states," he said late Wednesday.

Last April, ASEAN leaders mutually agreed with Min Aung Hlaing on a five-point roadmap toward a peaceful settlement, which included an end to violence and the start of political dialogue between all stake-holders. The Myanmar leader was barred in October from attending ASEAN meetings after the then-ASEAN special envoy was prevented from meeting with Suu Kyi and other political detainees.

Myanmar’s military has said Hun Sen also will not be allowed to meet with Suu Kyi, who was convicted in December on charges of incitement and violating coronavirus restrictions and sentenced to four years in prison — a sentence that Min Aung Hlaing then cut in half.

The army's takeover prevented Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party from beginning a second term in office. It won a landslide victory in national elections in November 2020 and independent election observers did not find any major irregularities.

Min Aung Hlaing's move undid 10 years of progress toward democracy as the army loosened its grip on power after decades of repressive military rule.

The Myanmar military has a history of bloodshed, including a brutal campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Its seizure of power provoked nationwide nonviolent demonstrations, which security forces have quashed with deadly force. The military has recently engaged in violent suppression of all dissent, disappearances, torture and extra-judicial killings. It has also launched air strikes and ground offensives against ethnic armed rebel groups.

Security forces have killed about 1,443 civilians, according to a detailed tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. As the crackdown has become more severe, an armed resistance has grown inside the country.

Hun Sen was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn, the current ASEAN special envoy, and other top Cambodian leaders.

Hun Sen, who has retained power by exiling or imprisoning the Cambodian opposition, may be hoping his visit will burnish his own tarnished international image.

The National Unity Government, an underground Myanmar opposition group and parallel administration, also urged Hun Sen to stay away.

“Meeting Min Aung Hlaing, shaking blood-stained hands. It’s not going to be acceptable,” said Dr. Sasa, a spokesman for the group who uses one name.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Myanmar's leader will continue to be excluded from ASEAN meetings unless some progress is made.

“Should there be no significant progress on the implementation of the five-point consensus, Myanmar should only be represented at a non-political level at ASEAN meetings,” Widodo tweeted after speaking to Hun Sen.


Associated Press journalists Sopheng Cheang in Phnom Penh, Edna Tarigan in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kiko Rosario in Manila, Philippines, and Jerry Harmer and Patrick Quinn in Bangkok contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business, AP World News - International incidents, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2022
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden warns of US peril from Trump's 'dagger' at democracy
President Joe Biden is forcefully accusing Donald Trump and his supporters of holding a “dagger at the throat of democracy” with his election lies that sparked last year’s deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol
12:05AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Some virus restrictions back in Australia as omicron surges
Australia’s most populous state has reinstated some restrictions and suspended elective surgeries as COVID-19 cases surged to another new record
11:52PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Banned from the Olympics by IOC, NKorea puts blame elsewhere
North Korea says it will skip next month’s Beijing Olympics because of the COVID-19 pandemic and “hostile forces’ moves."
11:48PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
A season of joy -- and caution -- kicks off in New Orleans
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell helped usher in the city's Carnival season by sampling a city delicacy — king cake — at a morning event
10:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
Americans do not remember Jan. 6 Capitol riot as one people
The Jan. 6 insurrection anniversary has meant a day of solemn remembrance, but mainly for Democrats
10:16PM ( 1 hour ago )
Warrant: 5-year-old might have started deadly Philly blaze
Investigators are looking into whether a 5-year-old who was playing with a lighter set a Christmas tree on fire, sparking a conflagration that killed 12 family members in a Philadelphia rowhome
9:58PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
New NYPD leader makes history after a strong 1st impression
Keechant Sewell spent her entire policing career in suburban Long Island before recently becoming New York City's first police commissioner from outside the department in over two decades
5:55PM ( 6 hours ago )
Hunters kill 20 Yellowstone wolves that roamed out of park
Twenty of Yellowstone National Park’s renowned gray wolves roamed from the park and were shot by hunters in neighboring states in recent months
5:47PM ( 6 hours ago )
Peter Bogdanovich, director of ‘Paper Moon,’ dead at 82
Peter Bogdanovich, the ascot-wearing cinephile and director of 1970s black-and-white classics like “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon,” has died
5:33PM ( 6 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
US, Japan hail stronger ties, including 2 new defense deals
Top U.S. and Japanese officials are highlighting new defense agreements, including a five-year deal on sharing the cost of the American military presence in Japan
8:47PM ( 3 hours ago )
Stance on Russia, China a test for new German government
Germany has found itself facing a series of challenges in its relations with Russia and China that have been testing the foreign policy mettle of the new government since it took office last month
1:53PM ( 10 hours ago )
Mexicans continue tradition of king cakes
While tortillas come to mind when Mexico is mentioned, every Jan. 6, Mexicans’ love of bread comes to the fore with the cutting of oval brioche decorated with candied fruit known as king cakes to celebrate Epiphany
1:14PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP World News
Alaska Air trims January flights to cope with virus outbreak
Airlines are responding to high sickout numbers during the pandemic by trimming their schedules
7:22PM ( 4 hours ago )
Chicago schools shut for 2nd day over virus safety protocols
Hundreds of thousands of Chicago students remain out of school for a second straight day after leaders of the nation’s third-largest school district failed to resolve a deepening clash with the influential teachers union over COVID-19 safety protocols
5:22PM ( 6 hours ago )
New York Times buys sports site The Athletic for $550M
The New York Times Co. is buying sports news site The Athletic for $550 million
5:15PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Business
Stocks wobble as traders weigh outlook for rates, inflation
Stocks are wobbling in afternoon trading on Wall Street Thursday as investors consider the outlook for rising interest rates and inflation
2:14PM ( 10 hours ago )
US average long-term mortgage rates rise; 30-year at 3.22%
Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose in the past week to start the new year
12:57PM ( 11 hours ago )
Feds want marathon bomber's COVID payment to go to victims
Federal prosecutors want convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to use a $1,400 COVID-19 stimulus payment he received as well as other money held in his inmate trust account to help pay the millions of dollars he was ordered to pay his victims
11:00AM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Biden warns of US peril from Trump's 'dagger' at democracy
President Joe Biden is forcefully accusing Donald Trump and his supporters of holding a “dagger at the throat of democracy” with his election lies that sparked last year’s deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol
12:05AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Chicago nixes school for 3rd day as virus, union debate rage
Classes in Chicago were canceled for a third consecutive day amid an ongoing fight with the teachers union over remote learning and other COVID-19 safety protocols
11:45PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Teen, parents returning to court in Michigan school shooting
Two parents charged with their son in a fatal Michigan school shooting are returning to court to ask for a lower bail to get out of jail
11:44PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Missouri man to be sentenced for killing wife he buried
A Missouri man who admitted to burying his wife’s body and misleading authorities for more than a year about her whereabouts is set to be sentenced for killing her
11:43PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Ex-Michigan House Speaker Chatfield accused of sex assault
State police in northern Michigan are investigating after a woman accused former state House Speaker Lee Chatfield of sexually assaulting her multiple times, beginning when she was 14 or 15 years old
11:37PM ( 37 minutes ago )