BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The United States has urged ASEAN chair Brunei to hold Myanmar’s junta accountable to a consensus plan that would end a months-long crackdown on anti-regime protestors.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Brunei’s Second Minister of Foreign Affairs YB Dato Hj Erywan PDPJ Hj Md Yusof in London on Monday ahead of a G7 ministerial meeting.
According to a statement from the US State Department, the envoys discussed ASEAN’s role in resolving the Myanmar crisis and Blinken thanked the Brunei government for its work on the issue.
Brunei recently hosted an emergency summit between ASEAN leaders and Myanmar’s army chief in Jakarta, with the latter agreeing to end violence that has killed over 700 people, and start a dialogue between military and civilian leaders.
The ministers also discussed issues of shared concern, including economic ties, regional security and human rights, said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
Blinken added that he “looked forward to even greater US engagement with ASEAN.”
ASEAN has previously said it looks forward to renewed US commitment to the region following Joe Biden’s inauguration in January.
His predecessor Donald Trump skipped leaders’ summits between ASEAN and the US for three consecutive years, seen as symptomatic of his disinterest in the region.
President Biden is expected to attend the ASEAN summit hosted by Brunei later this year, although it is not yet known whether the series of meetings will take place virtually or in person.