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Pelosi Taiwan Visit Set to Dominate ASEAN Meet

August 3, 2022, 12.54 PM

PHNOM PENH, - Southeast Asian foreign ministers will seek ways to help calm rising tensions over Taiwan at regional talks Wednesday, Aug. 3, after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived on the island, enraging Beijing.

Pelosi’s dramatic late-night arrival in Taipei, defying threats of reprisals by China, looks set to dominate the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Phnom Penh, which had been due to focus on the bloody crisis in Myanmar.

Attention will focus instead on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his American counterpart Antony Blinken -- both flying into the Cambodian capital for regional security talks with ASEAN on Thursday, Aug. 4, and Friday, Aug. 5.

ASEAN spokesman Kung Phoak, Cambodia’s deputy foreign minister, said the meeting would seek to calm the waters.

He told reporters ministers would try to find ways the bloc could help “so that the situation in Taiwan will be stable, that won’t lead to a conflict and won’t escalate the political heat between all concerned parties.”

Late Tuesday, China vowed there would be “targeted military actions” in response to Pelosi’s visiting the self-ruled island Beijing claims as part of its territory.

The 10-member bloc is split between countries with close ties to China, such as Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos, and others that are warier of Beijing and its growing international assertiveness.

Myanmar tensions

The ministers -- meeting face-to-face for the first time since the pandemic -- are expected to lament the lack of progress on the bloc’s “five-point consensus” plan agreed upon last year as a way out of Myanmar’s conflict.

The country was plunged into violent turmoil when the military seized power last year, ousting Aun San Suu Kyi’s civilian government, and the death toll from a junta crackdown has passed 2,100 according to local monitors.

ASEAN, long derided as a toothless talking shop that gives political cover to repressive regimes, has spearheaded so far fruitless efforts to restore peace.

Also read: ASEAN Foreign Ministers to Push for Tougher Action on Myanmar

The bloc last week condemned the military’s execution of four prisoners, with some member states growing frustrated at the lack of progress.

The five-point plan calls for an immediate end to violence and dialogue between the junta and coup opponents.

But after more than a year without progress, Malaysia has said it would present a framework for its implementation.


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