Asia

State Counselor to Attend ASEAN Summit in Thailand on June 22-23

By Nan Lwin 18 June 2019

YANGON—State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will attend the 34th ASEAN Summit in Thailand on June 22-23. Southeast Asian leaders will discuss issues of regional importance including marine pollution and disaster prevention while seeking to boost economic and security ties with Japan and the US.

The State Counselor’s Office announced on Tuesday that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will attend the summit at the invitation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand, which is hosting the summit as this year’s ASEAN chair.

The 10 ASEAN leaders will discuss regional issues under the theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”. The theme, chosen by Thailand, is focused on building a people-centered ASEAN Community by working toward a “digital, green and seamlessly connected region”.

According to the Myanmar Foreign Ministry’s Department of ASEAN Affairs, the leaders are expected to sign a declaration and operational plan to resolve the problems of marine pollution, discuss ASEAN’s cooperation on disaster prevention and mitigation, and sign a framework on the Year of ASEAN Culture 2019.

ASEAN leaders are also expected to endorse a long-awaited “ASEAN Indo-Pacific Outlook” on cooperation with Indo-Pacific countries. The term refers to the region between India and the Pacific Coast of the US. Japan and the US are looking to boost economic and security ties with countries in the region amid China’s expanding leverage.

The ASEAN Affairs Department said there would also be further discussions between the leaders on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is due to be completed this year.

The RCEP, launched in 2012, is a proposed free-trade agreement (FTA) between the 10 member states of ASEAN and the six Asia-Pacific states with which the bloc has existing FTAs: Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

During the summit, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to hold bilateral meetings with other ASEAN leaders, but the State Counselor’s Office has not announced details of the schedule.

The State Counselor’s last official visit to Thailand was in 2016.

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