Awkward: Burma wants to chair ASEAN

Burma is bidding to chair the regional group ASEAN in 2014, putting other members in a delicate spot. As the Bangkok Post reports: Burma has formally applied to take over the rotating chairmanship of Asean in 2014, the current Asean chairman, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, said on Friday. Mr Natalegawa said Burma’s new president Thein ...

By , a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.

Burma is bidding to chair the regional group ASEAN in 2014, putting other members in a delicate spot. As the Bangkok Post reports:

Burma is bidding to chair the regional group ASEAN in 2014, putting other members in a delicate spot. As the Bangkok Post reports:

Burma has formally applied to take over the rotating chairmanship of Asean in 2014, the current Asean chairman, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, said on Friday.

Mr Natalegawa said Burma’s new president Thein Sein had also raised the matter with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Mr Yudhoyono had said he would forward the request for discussion by the other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), said Mr Natalegawa.

"I have a feeling that this will not be decided here and now as we will ascertain the readiness of Burma," he said before the weekend Asean Summit in Jakarta.

The Burmese junta’s application for the annually rotating chairmanship in 2005  was politely withdrawn in the face of widespread opposition.

ASEAN is under strong pressure from human rights groups and from Western governments to deny Burma the chair. Human Rights Watch warned today that a Burma-led ASEAN would become "the laughingstock of intergovernmental forums."

David Bosco is a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of The Poseidon Project: The Struggle to Govern the World’s Oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist

Tag: War

More from Foreign Policy

Vladimir Putin speaks during the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at The Konstantin Palace on July 25, 2015 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Vladimir Putin speaks during the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at The Konstantin Palace on July 25, 2015 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

What Putin Got Right

The Russian president got many things wrong about invading Ukraine—but not everything.

Dmitry Medvedev (center in the group of officials), an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who is now deputy chairman of the country's security council, visits the Omsktransmash (Omsk transport machine factory) in the southern Siberian city of Omsk.
Dmitry Medvedev (center in the group of officials), an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who is now deputy chairman of the country's security council, visits the Omsktransmash (Omsk transport machine factory) in the southern Siberian city of Omsk.

Russia Has Already Lost in the Long Run

Even if Moscow holds onto territory, the war has wrecked its future.

Sri Lankan construction workers along a road in Colombo.
Sri Lankan construction workers along a road in Colombo.

China’s Belt and Road to Nowhere

Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy is a “shadow of its former self.”

Dalton speaks while sitting at a table alongside other U.S. officials.
Dalton speaks while sitting at a table alongside other U.S. officials.

The U.S. Overreacted to the Chinese Spy Balloon. That Scares Me.

So unused to being challenged, the United States has become so filled with anxiety over China that sober responses are becoming nearly impossible.