Leaders of Asian nations meeting in Manila on Monday skirted around the mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims triggered by Burma’s military crackdown, disappointing human rights groups who were hoping for a tough stand on the humanitarian crisis.
Seeking to capitalise on US President Donald Trump’s controversial new travel restrictions, companies and officials in Asia said they would target greater tourism and education ties with Muslims worried about the curbs.
US President-elect Donald Trump has not made any public statements on what his administration’s policy toward Burma will be, but he is unlikely to take a strong personal interest in the country as his predecessor has.
Governments across Southeast Asia have a history of using laws and the judiciary to curb press freedoms, and now, they have found a handy crutch to lean on as they intensify clampdowns: US President Donald Trump’s “fake news” mantra.
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in Vietnam, where she will brush shoulders with a host of regional leaders and will likely have her first in-person encounter with US President Donald Trump at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the town of Da Nang.
The United States on Thursday placed Burma on its list of worst offenders of human trafficking and accused it of using child soldiers amid global criticism over human rights abuses by the country’s military against the minority Rohingya Muslims.
The outgoing UN human rights chief kept Burma under the microscope in parting remarks to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, noting the government’s failure to cooperate with multiple probes into alleged rights abuses.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in embraced after pledging on Friday to work for the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” punctuating a day of smiles and handshakes at the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.
The US government is conducting an intensive examination of alleged atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, documenting alleged atrocities in an investigation that could be used to prosecute Burma’s military for crimes against humanity, said US officials.
Southeast Asian leaders will focus on trade wars, the crisis in Burma and security tensions in the disputed South China Sea at a summit this weekend, but it’s highly unlikely there will be any headline-grabbing progress on the issues.
China on Monday unveiled its largest defence spending increase in three years, setting an 8.1 percent growth target this year, fuelling an ambitious military modernisation programme and making its neighbours nervous.
The biggest US force in years joined an annual military exercise in Thailand on Tuesday despite controversy over the Thai junta’s invitation to neighbouring Burma’s army, which has been accused of ethnic cleansing.
Pope Francis described migrants and refugees as the world’s “weakest and most needy” on Monday, using his traditional New Year’s address to “give voice” to people he has urged leaders to do more to help.
The Burmese military, which has been accused of ethnic cleansing against the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority, has been invited back as an observer in a major multinational military exercise next year led by the United States and Thailand.
The United States calls the Burmese military operation against the Rohingya population “ethnic cleansing” and threatens targeted sanctions against those responsible for what it describes as “horrendous atrocities.”
Proposed US sanctions targeting Burma’s military for its treatment of Rohingya Muslims would hinder the fledgling civilian government sharing power with the generals, a spokesman for de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Friday.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke on Thursday with Burma’s army chief and expressed concern over reported atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State, the US State Department said in a statement.
The State Department is considering formally declaring the crackdown on Burma’s Rohingya Muslims to be ethnic cleansing, US officials said on Tuesday, as lawmakers called for sanctions against the Southeast Asian country’s military.
The United States is taking steps and considering a range of further actions over Burma’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority, including targeted sanctions under its Global Magnitsky law, the State Department said on Monday.