Myanmar Coup Leader Meets Senior Officials From China, Japan and Thailand

By The Irrawaddy 15 November 2021

Senior officials from China, Japan and Thailand landed in the Myanmar capital Naypyitaw over the weekend to meet with coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Sun Guoxiang, the Special Envoy of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, arrived unannounced in Myanmar and is set to meet the country’s military leadership, sources monitoring the Sino-Myanmar relationship told The Irrawaddy.

Sun’s visit is his second to Myanmar since the February 1 coup. In August, he met Snr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and members of the regime’s governing body, the State Administration Council, during a week-long visit to the country.

At that time, the military regime rejected Sun’s request to meet detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Details of the special envoy’s current visit are still unknown, but political analysts have suggested that he may urge the coup leaders to implement the five-point consensus agreed with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as reiterating calls for dialogue between Myanmar’s political stakeholders.

The country has been in political, economic and social turmoil since the coup. ASEAN, which Myanmar is a member of, has tried to mediate the crisis but with little success so far.

The junta has still not implemented the five-point consensus, including ending the violence in the country and allowing the ASEAN special envoy to Myanmar to visit, that the coup leader agreed with the regional bloc in April.

“[Sun] might try again to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, apart from discussing the political crisis and peace in Myanmar,” said one political analyst.

However, the regime has not yet officially announced Sun Guoxiang’s visit to Myanmar.

Japan’s special envoy for national reconciliation in Myanmar, Yohei Sasakawa, is also in the country. He met Snr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing on Saturday and discussed the current situation and the peace process in Myanmar, as well as Japan’s assistance to the country, said the regime.

Myanmar coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing receives Yohei Sasakawa, the Japanese Government’s Special Envoy for National Reconciliation in Myanmar and President of Nippon Foundation, in Naypyitaw on Saturday. (Cincds)

On Monday, Japan’s envoy visited camps for internally displaced Rohingya in Sittwe, the Rakhine State capital, and is scheduled to meet representatives of ethnic political parties on Wednesday.

Yohei Sasakawa successfully mediated a ceasefire between Myanmar’s military and the ethnic Rakhine armed group the Arakan Army before last year’s general election. Fighting stopped for around a year, before renewed fighting broke out last week in Maungdaw in northern Rakhine.

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Don Pramudwinai, arrived in Naypyitaw on Sunday and met the junta leader.

Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai at the 20th ASEAN Political-Security Community Council Meeting of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Thailand in November 2019.(EPA)

Diplomatic sources stated that the Thai delegation comprised five members, including a senior advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister, his chief of staff and the counselor of his office. However, the Thai ambassador to Myanmar was not present at the meeting. It is believed sensitive topics were discussed, possibly including the issue of anti-regime activists based in Thai towns along the Thai-Myanmar border.

No press statement has been issued by the military regime about the sudden visit of the Thai Deputy Prime Minister.

Along with the Indonesian foreign minister, Don Pramudwinai met the junta-appointed foreign minister U Wunna Maung Lwin in Bangkok after the February coup.

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