Fri, 08 Dec 2023

JAKARTA, Indonesia - According to Asian diplomats and the Philippines' president, Southeast Asian leaders have decided that Myanmar will not take over the rotating leadership of their regional bloc as scheduled in 2026.

The decision, announced on Tuesday at an ASEAN leaders' summit in Indonesia, is the latest setback for Myanmar's ruling generals' efforts to gain international recognition after violently seizing power in 2021.

Western governments have condemned the Myanmar military's removal of Aung San Suu Kyi's democratically elected government and have demanded her and other officials' release.

At the ASEAN summit, the Philippines agreed to take over the regional bloc's chairmanship in 2026, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said in a statement, citing what he told fellow leaders in closed-door meetings.

"It is my pleasure to announce that the Philippines is ready to take the helm and chair ASEAN in 2026," Marcos said to his ASEAN counterparts in Jakarta, according to a presidential palace statement.

"We will fortify the foundations of our community-building and navigate ASEAN as it embarks on a new chapter."

ASEAN's leadership is rotated annually based on the alphabetical order of the member states' English names.

Under the ASEAN charter, a member state chairs the ASEAN summit, related summits, and the group's various bodies.

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