In the Thailand’s capital Bangkok, Southeast Asian leaders will today open a two-day summit with disputes in the South China Sea and the plight of ethnic Rohingya fleeing Myanmar expected to dominate.
Officials are expected to discuss a Code of Conduct (COC) for negotiations over the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest waterways and a potential flashpoint, as it is claimed by several Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members as well as China.
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi plans to travel to Bangkok to attend this weekend’s summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, at which the Rohingya refugee crisis is expected to be a topic for serious discussion.
The ASEAN has historically struggled with challenges facing the region because it works only by consensus and is reluctant to become involved in any matter regarded as internal to a member state.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was making his debut as a civilian leader representing current chair Thailand, after a general election in March that opposition parties say was designed to ensure his victory five years after the former army chief seized power in a 2014 coup.
Host country Thailand deployed about 10,000 security forces around Bangkok for the summit, mindful of a decade ago when Thailand last hosted an ASEAN summit and dozens of protesters loyal to military-ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra forced their way into the meeting venue.
Via The Bangkok Post