Yoshihide- Myanmar coup latest: Thai PM Prayuth will skip ASEAN summit
The Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy had won a landslide in a general election in November. But the military has claimed the election was marred by fraud.
For all our coverage, visit our Myanmar Coup page.
Read our in-depth coverage:
— Failed state: Myanmar collapses into chaos
— Myanmar ‘parallel government’ pressures junta ahead of ASEAN meeting
— Posco cuts ties to Myanmar junta as multinationals face scrutiny
— Myanmar junta taps Russian air power to bomb ethnic rebels
— Myanmar junta efforts to restore calm ‘unworkable’: ex-Japan envoy
— Myanmar coup presses Japan to retreat from Abe-era business push
— Taiwan takes tougher line against Myanmar regime
— Myanmar’s brewing currency crisis causes consumer prices to soar
— Women lawyers fight Myanmar junta on legal battlefield
— Who is Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing? 5 things to know
Follow the latest developments here (Yangon time):
Tuesday, April 20
1:20 p.m. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says he will not attend the ASEAN summit in Jakarta on April 24, where leaders are expected to discuss the Myanmar crisis, Reuters reports. Prayuth says Thailand would instead be represented by Deputy Prime Minister Don Pramudwinai, who is also foreign minister.
11:00 a.m. Japan’s top government spokesman demands that security forces in Myanmar release a Japanese journalist detained for allegedly spreading “fake news” after covering protests against the junta. “Japan considers the way in which the situation has been handled, including the fact he was sent to prison before sentencing, unacceptable,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters.
2:00 a.m. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ cherished principle of non-interference in member states’ internal affairs “should not be used to justify inaction in the face of serious human rights abuses,” former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tells the U.N. Security Council.
“To deal with the Myanmar situation, an effective and regional-led approach requires both unity and action,” Ban says. But, ASEAN has so far been divided in its response to the situation in Myanmar.”
“ASEAN must make it clear to the Myanmar military that the current situation is so grave that it cannot be regarded only as an internal matter,” Ban also says.
Ban recently made a request to visit Myanmar but was turned down, he tells an open debate organized by Vietnam, which holds the Security Council’s rotating presidency this month.
He urges the council “take immediate action to halt the violence and bloodshed, and initiate a process to restore peace and democracy in Myanmar.” He calls on his successor Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “use his good offices to engage directly with the Myanmar military, to prevent an escalation of violence.”
1:00 a.m. Multinational energy companies face a tough choice over their investments in Myanmar.
Malaysia’s Petronas has said it will indefinitely suspend production at the Yetagun natural gas field. Meanwhile, France’s Total, which runs Myanmar’s largest undersea gas field in terms of output, plans to continue production there. Read more here.
Monday, April 19
8:30 p.m. More quotes from the European Union statement on Myanmar:
“Pre-existing EU restrictive measures also remain in place. These include an embargo on arms and equipment that can be used for internal repression, an export ban on dual-use goods for use by the military and border guard police, export restrictions on equipment for monitoring communications that could be used for internal repression, and a prohibition on military training for and military cooperation with the Tatmadaw.”
8:00 p.m. The European Union adopts a new round of Myanmar sanctions in response to the Feb. 1 coup, targeting 10 people and two military-controlled companies.
“Today’s decision is a sign of the EU’s unity and determination in condemning the brutal actions of the military junta, and aims at effecting change in the junta’s leadership,” the European Council says in a statement.
The 10 individuals include members of the State Administrative Council — the junta’s name for the post-coup government. The two companies, Myanma Economic Holdings Public Co. Ltd. (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corp. (MEC), “are owned and controlled by the Myanmar armed forces [Tatmadaw], and provide revenue for it,” according to the statement.
The U.S. and the UK. also have imposed sanctions on MEHL and MEC, whose far-reaching business interests include mining, food, beverages and tourism.
The statement stresses that European sanctions “specifically target the economic interests of Myanmar’s military regime” and “are crafted in such a way to avoid undue harm to the people of Myanmar.”
“It’s once again clear that humanitarian aid to the people of Myanmar needs to be increased,” Josep Borrell, high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy, tells reporters. “We increased it by 9 million euros ($10.8 million). But the important thing is to stop the repression.”
6:00 p.m. Myanmar’s security forces have stepped up house arrests in Yangon on Monday. There has been no confirmation of the number of such arrests, but protesters residing in Kyauk Myaung and Tarmwe townships, among other areas, have reportedly been arrested at their homes for allegedly taking part in the civil disobedience movement against the junta.
Security forces have increased raids and detentions over the past week, especially after more cases of explosions and arson attacks. Observers say that some of those attacks were conducted by armed protesters who have been trained to handle explosives. In response, security forces now stop and search more pedestrians for explosives, rather than checking their mobile phones for links to lawmakers from the National League for Democracy.
Separately, Japanese freelance journalist Yuki Kitazumi is being investigated for allegedly spreading fake news, according to the Japanese Embassy in Myanmar.
2:45 p.m. Myanmar’s security authority confirms that Japanese freelance journalist Yuki Kitazumi has been charged with allegedly violating section 505-A of the Penal Code, which prohibits a wide range of expressions that might cause fear, spread false news, or agitate directly or indirectly someone toward a criminal offense against a Government employee, according to the Japanese Embassy in Myanmar.
7:30 a.m. The Japanese Embassy in Myanmar confirms with local police that journalist Yuki Kitazumi was detained around 7:50 p.m. on Sunday at his home and transferred to Insein Prison, on the outskirts of Yangon. The prison is known for holding political prisoners.
Sunday, April 18
10:00 p.m. Japanese freelance journalist Yuki Kitazumi was detained in the night by security forces in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, local media report. By Sunday, 737 people had been killed since the military coup on Feb. 1, and 3,229 detained, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
11:00 a.m. Myanmar citizens launch #ASEANrejectSAC, a “trending party” on Twitter, to push ASEAN to disinvite Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the junta’s commander in chief, to the bloc’s summit now scheduled for Saturday in Jakarta.
Saturday, April 17
1:33 p.m. A spokesperson for Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs local media that a long-awaited ASEAN emergency summit is nearly set for April 24 in Jakarta, with the Myanmar junta’s commander in chief ready to attend.
“I can confirm that Brunei Chair has proposed the date April 24,” the spokesperson says in a message, referring to this year’s ASEAN chair country. The official goes on to say that the venue will be the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, and that “several leaders have confirmed their attendance including Myanmar’s MAH” — understood to be shorthand for Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.
“Some leaders have yet to [be] confirmed.”
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen also said on Friday that he would attend the summit on April 24 without providing details.
1:00 p.m. U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, whose bilateral summit has mostly drawn attention for their remarks on Taiwan and China’s reaction, also touched on the crisis in Myanmar.
“We firmly condemn violence committed by the Myanmar military and police against civilians, and commit to continue taking action to press for the immediate cessation of violence, the release of those who are detained, and a swift return to democracy,” reads the joint statement issued by the White House after the leaders’ meeting in Washington on Friday.
7:00 a.m. Several countries are said to be preparing to officially recognize Myanmar’s National Unity Government as the legitimate leaders of the country, local media outlet Myanmar Now reports, citing a minister from the newly formed shadow cabinet.
“They include some Western countries as well as a member country of the Arab world that experienced the Arab Spring, which we respected and envy very much,” the minister said in an online news conference on Friday.
6:00 a.m. An explosion is heard from the direction of the Hledan district of Yangon at around 7:30 p.m. The exact location of the blast is unknown, but it is said to be at a police station near Grand Hantha International Hospital. According to information observed on Twitter accounts, loud explosions were heard at seven locations in Yangon.
3:30 a.m. Twan Mrat Naing, the chief of Arakan Army, an ethnic rebel group that operates in the western Rakhine State, tweets from an account believed to be the one he is using: “They offered us with respect. We didn’t join as we have our own stands. They’re not to be blamed.” It apparently refers to the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) which announced a list of members of their National Unity Government on Friday.
2:45 a.m. Southeast Asian countries are considering a proposal for a humanitarian aid mission to Myanmar, Reuters reports, citing diplomats familiar with the matter.
Diplomats also said Myanmar junta leader Min Aung Hlaing may attend a proposed ASEAN summit this month, Reuters reports.
Friday, April 16
7:30 p.m. Loud clapping can be heard in Yangon as residents welcome the formation of the National Unity Government, which aims to oust the junta.
6:40 p.m. Dr. Sasa, the new National Unity Government’s spokesman and minister of international cooperation, has released a rousing statement laying out the entity’s aims — the ultimate one being to end suffering “at the hands of a criminal, ruthless military junta.”
The message emphasizes ethnic diversity and says the unity government led by Aung San Suu Kyi represents “the hopes and dreams, and the courage and commitment, of all the people of Myanmar.”
Sasa, who goes by one name, says the anti-junta group will “continue to work on bringing all ethnic nationalities into our National Unity Government” and vows to “deliver justice for our Rohingya brothers, sisters and for all.”
He also says the unity government will be seeking global recognition “as the truly legitimate government of the people of Myanmar.”
1:40 p.m. The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), a group made up of elected lawmakers mainly from the ousted National League for Democracy government, announces members of their “National Unity Government.” The list includes deposed lawmakers, members of ethnic groups and leaders of anti-coup protesters.
Atop the list shared by the CRPH — the parallel parliament recognized by the Myanmar public — on its Facebook account are detained democratic leaders Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint. They are named state counselor and president, respectively, retaining the titles they held before the military coup on Feb. 1.
In addition, Dr. Sasa, the special envoy of the CRPH, is also included in the list as a union minister in charge of the Ministry of International Cooperation.
To catch up on earlier developments, see the last edition of latest updates.