ANN/CNA – Indonesia plans to send a top general to Myanmar to talk to its junta leaders in the hope of showing Myanmar’s military rulers how Indonesia made a successful transition to democracy, President Joko Widodo said yesterday.
Southeast Asian biggest economy takes on the chairmanship of ASEAN this year and with it the responsibility of trying to resolve the region’s perennial problem of the suppression of democracy in fellow member Myanmar.
“This is a matter of approach. We have the experience, here in Indonesia, the situation was the same,” the president, who is widely known as Jokowi, told media in an interview in his offices in Jakarta.
“This experience can be addressed, how Indonesia began its democracy.”
Jokowi, speaking on the second anniversary of Myanmar’s 2021 coup, said he was committed to the plan but added that ASEAN would “not be held hostage” to the Myanmar conflict and if there was no progress it would “act decisively”. He did not elaborate on any action.
Jokowi said he did not rule out travelling to Myanmar himself, but acknowledged that dialogue would likely be “easier” between officials from similar backgrounds.
The president declined to say who he hoped to send “as soon as possible” but suggested the person he had in mind was involved in Indonesia’s reforms.
As president of the Group of 20 (G20) last year, Indonesia positioned itself as a diplomatic bridge on the crisis between Russia and Ukraine and managed, against the odds, to get a joint declaration across the line at a leaders’ summit in Bali in November.
Now Jokowi will have to try to manage the various geopolitical rivalries while keeping the region’s focus on his priority of economic growth.