News ID: 319222
Published: 0304 GMT January 07, 2022

Anger as Cambodia's PM meets Myanmar military leader

Anger as Cambodia's PM meets Myanmar military leader

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) poses for photographs together with Myanmar State Administration Council Chairman Senior General Min Aung Hlaing before holding a meeting in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, on Jan. 7, 2022.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Myanmar seeking to revive peace efforts after last year's military takeover provoked an angry backlash among critics, who say he is legitimizing the army’s seizure of power.

Hun Sen is the first head of government which has visited Myanmar since the military takeover last February. The authoritarian Cambodian leader has held power for 36 years and keeps a tight leash on political activity at home, according to AP.

In his role as the current chairperson of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, he met with Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who ousted the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, plunging Myanmar into violent conflict and economic disaster.

Photos posted by a military-related publication, the Popular News Journal, showed the two standing side by side in face masks, bumping forearms and seated on ornate gilt chairs before an elaborate golden screen.

The Myanmar Information Ministry said the two held talks on bilateral ties and issues of mutual concern, including ASEAN. It did not elaborate.

Protests and rallies were held in some parts of Myanmar as people expressed anger over Hun Sen's visit.

Hundreds of protesters burned portraits of the Cambodian prime minister and chanted, “Torch inhumane Hun Sen. People who engage with Min Aung Hlaing should die horrible deaths," videos of the protest posted online showed.

Last April, ASEAN leaders, including Min Aung Hlaing, agreed on a five-point roadmap toward a peaceful settlement of the Myanmar crisis, including an end to violence and a political dialogue between all stakeholders.

The Myanmar military has a history of bloodshed, including a brutal campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Its seizure of power provoked nationwide nonviolent demonstrations, which security forces have quashed with deadly force.

The military has recently engaged in violent suppression of all dissent, disappearances, torture and extra-judicial killings. It has also launched air strikes and ground offensives against ethnic armed rebel groups.

Security forces have killed about 1,443 civilians, according to a detailed tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. As the crackdown has become more severe, an armed resistance has grown inside the country.






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