Asean has now got its foot in crisis-locked Myanmar's door

BANGKOK – It’s been some time since Asean meetings involved such high stakes. On Saturday – some 12 weeks after Myanmar’s military seized power from a civilian government – the 10-nation bloc took a first step towards tackling an impasse that threatens to unravel decades of regional progress.

In a relatively small meeting in Jakarta that lasted for about three hours, Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing justified his Feb 1 coup and gave his version of the upheavals in his country since then. He then listened as leaders of other Asean member states implored him to stop the violence, launch a dialogue, and open the country to a special envoy and delegation as well as humanitarian aid.

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