How will Indonesia’s efforts to find a solution to the Myanmar issue come out?

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – May 05 Scenes

MoeMaKa, May 06 2023

How will Indonesia’s efforts to find a solution to the Myanmar issue come out?

Indonesia, which is the rotating chair of ASEAN for 2023, has revealed for the first time that it has been trying diplomatically to find a solution to the political crisis in Myanmar for the past 4 months.

Indonesia, which is using the method of silent diplomacy in the Myanmar issue, has not publicly talked about the Myanmar issue in the past 4 months, but has held 60 meetings behind the scenes. It did not disclose the details of who they met with, which organizations, or what the discussion path was, but Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno said that all relevant parties were involved. It also means that the relevant organizations, including the National Unity Government, were met.

Cambodia, which took over the ASEAN Chair before Indonesia, did not use such a silent diplomatic method during the coordination process, but the Foreign Minister’s trip and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s trip were observed and informed by the media. During the one year that Cambodia was in charge, it was not able to make progress in Myanmar affairs. In other words, there were no significant results. The former Prime Minister of Cambodia made a comment, meaning that if the concerned parties in Myanmar are not interested in resolving the peace issue, they cannot do it either.

When Indonesia is taking over the responsibility, it is not clear whether Myanmar’s concerned parties still have the above attitude or whether there has been a willingness to discuss and negotiate.

Indonesia, which is the rotating chair of ASEAN, is one of the most influential countries in ASEAN and has experience of intervening in some international issues. For example, last year after the Ukraine-Russia war, it acted as a negotiator for the release of agricultural product ships.

In the case of the Myanmar issue, how to organize and talk to the Myanmar military dictators, who have a long history of resolving the armed groups and ethnic armed groups fighting for equal ethnic rights through military means, is currently unknown. On the other hand, how to talk with the armed forces and the ethnic armed forces, which were formed after the military coup, is currently unknown.

It is also unclear whether ASEAN’s dialogue and resolution methods and China’s diplomatic efforts are on the same track or separately. Meetings with China this month are becoming frequent, and it is not clear whether the military council released more than 2,100 political prisoners on the full moon day of Kason and commuted 38 death sentences to life sentences as a result of ASEAN’s efforts or China’s intervention.

On the other hand, being able to represent the entire Spring Revolution movement is also an important factor for the NUG. The Spring Revolution Movement includes the General Strike Committee, some leaders of the NLD Party, the CRPH, which is formed by many members of parliament elected in 2020, student union organizations, other youth and minority groups that emerged from the anti-coup protest, and some ethnic armed organizations.

NUG is generally understood to be the leading organization of all these forces, but it should also be seen that there is still no representation or delegated representation according to the system. Many of the forces mentioned above are represented in the National Unity Consultative Council, called NUCC, but later on, there is no clarity about the support for NUCC, the regular meetings of NUCC, the role of NUCC in leading the NUG, etc. This is because discussing the detailed relationship hierarchies will require regional organizations such as ASEAN, China, and powerful countries to be clear about the role of leading organizations on the side of the anti-dictatorship forces in resolving the Myanmar issue.

Another point is that there is a need for the anti-dictatorship forces to make a clear decision about whether they will accept the talks with the military council or continue to attack until they surrender.

According to the current political and military situation, it may be considered that it is too early to think about these aspects and that it has not yet reached this stage. Because these are the stages that will be encountered in terms of diplomacy, while the battles are taking place on the ground, there may be close diplomatic discussions on the one hand, so the leading organizations will have to be ready to take a stand and calculate the results.