Cambodian Prime Minister to Visit Myanmar Despite Warning of Looming Civil War

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose country holds the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year, was set to visit Myanmar on Friday and Saturday despite warnings of a looming civil war.

“We feel that all the ingredients for civil war are now on the table,” Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and ASEAN’s special envoy on Myanmar said on Monday.

“There are now two governments, there are several armed forces, people are undergoing what they call the civil disobedience movement, and (there is) guerrilla warfare around the country,” Prak Sokhonn added.

Prak Sokhonn said that Hun Sen’s visit aims to facilitate inclusive dialogue and political trust among all parties, rejecting criticisms from rights groups that the visit would legitimize the military’s rule.

Cambodia’s efforts were focused on allowing the junta chief to resume attending the group’s meetings, an approach also widely criticized as it directly contradicted what ASEAN, under the chairmanship of Brunei, took last year by barring the junta leader from its meetings.

ASEAN has been spearheading diplomatic efforts to tackle the turmoil in Myanmar since the military junta seized power in the 2021 coup but failed to make substantial progress for a dialogue between the opposing sides.

At least 1,435 people have been killed in a security force crackdown on anti-coup protests, as fighting further escalates in Myanmar’s border areas between the military and ethnic armed groups and civilian militias.

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