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Jakarta Post

[INSIGHT] Myanmar matters to ASEAN, Indonesia

  • Jusuf Wanandi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 3, 2021   /  01:46 am
[INSIGHT] Myanmar matters to ASEAN, Indonesia Traditional Myanmar spirit mediums hold up signs during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on Feb. 11. (AFP/STR)

The Feb. 1 coup in Myanmar carries significant consequences for ASEAN’s future.  During ASEAN’s establishment in 1967, its founding fathers envisioned a regional institution of 10 countries in Southeast Asia. They were aware of the strategic limitations of the time and, realistically, started with five countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. But the plan had been set. A membership of 10 countries would make ASEAN complete and would represent the whole of Southeast Asia. After the Cold War, the three countries of Indochina were invited to join. This began with Vietnam, which became an exemplary new member, paving the way for Cambodia and Laos to join ASEAN later.  That left Myanmar, which after a period of transition under prime minister Thein Sein, completed the circle of 10. ASEAN was intended to be a big enoug...