Asia Myanmar foreign minister visits Cambodia after Suu Kyi sentencing

Myanmar foreign minister visits Cambodia after Suu Kyi sentencing

Myanmar’s military-appointed foreign minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, held talks in Cambodia on Tuesday, a day after the junta drew global condemnation for sentencing deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to jail for incitement and breaching COVID-19 rules.

Wunna Maung Lwin met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, with the men tapping elbows in a greeting before talks, government handout pictures showed.

Cambodia will be the chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year, a bloc that has seen divisions over member Myanmar since Suu Kyi’s government was overthrown in a Feb. 1 coup and she and others were detained.

With some ASEAN members angered by Myanmar’s return to chaos, its military leader, Min Aung Hlaing, was not invited to the annual summit of group leaders in October hosted by Brunei.

But Hun Sen, who has over the years faced criticism fromrights groups and Western governments over what they see as his suppression of democracy, said on Monday junta officials should be invited to the bloc’s meetings.

Hun Sen and Wunna Maung Lwin had discussed bilateral relations, ASEAN issues and ways to re-establish good relationships within the bloc, said Eang Sophalleth, an assistant to the prime minister.

The foreign minister also handed Hun Sen an invitation for a visit to Myanmar on Jan. 7-8, which Hun Sen accepted, Eang Sophalleth said. Hun Sen would be the first government leader to visit Myanmar since the coup.

The international spotlight returned to Myanmar on Monday when a court found Suu Kyi guilty of charges of incitement and breaching coronavirus restrictions, drawing condemnation of what critics said was a “sham” trial.

She is set to serve two years in detention at an undisclosed location, a sentence reduced from four years after a partial pardon from Myanmar’s military chief.

Suu Kyi’s supporters say the cases against her are baseless and designed to end her political career and tie her up in legal proceedings while the military consolidates power.

Her conviction had been widely expected in Myanmar. Demonstrators in the largest city, Yangon, risked arrest to stage a flash protest right after the verdict though there were no immediate reports of fresh demonstrations on Tuesday.

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