Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for June 12, 2022

Newsline: U.S. diplomat says Myanmar junta can’t beat rebels

Myanmar’s junta likely cannot to defeat the rebels fighting its rule and should restore democracy after seizing power last year, a senior U.S. diplomat said. “It’s hard to see today how they could realistically think they can win,” said Derek Chollet, the State Department counsellor. “They’re losing territory. Their military is taking serious losses.” Speaking to Reuters and another journalist in Bangkok on Friday, Chollet said the military government is becoming isolated not only internationally but also at home and should end the fight and return to democracy. (https://news.yahoo.com/myanmar-junta-cant-beat-rebels-060645610.html) The junta overthrew the elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021 and has since used deadly force and mass arrests to suppress demonstrations. Civilians have taken up arms to fight police and soldiers, answering a call by an alliance of lightly armed rebels for a people’s revolt. The junta has declared the alliance “terrorists”. A spokesperson for the military did not answer calls seeking comment on Sunday about Chollet’s remarks. The U.S. diplomat is visiting Thailand, Singapore and Brunei to follow up on a meeting last month of the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Newsline: Asia Seeks to Stay Out of US-China Diplomatic Crossfire

Asian defense chiefs urged efforts to protect the borders of smaller nations in the wake of the Ukraine war, while balking at joining in on the broader US-China tussle. Ministers of smaller nations such as Fiji and Singapore warned against framing the crisis as part of an ideological contest between autocracies and democracies as the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue wrapped up in Singapore. Earlier Sunday, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe hit back at the US’s Indo-Pacific strategy, which he blamed for pushing the two sides toward confrontation. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/shangri-la-latest-us-china-051641827.html) Both the US and China are using Asia’s biggest annual security conference to drum up support for their competing visions for regional stability, even as Ukraine consumes Washington’s attention and Beijing struggles with economic pressures at home.

Newsline: U.S. tells neutral Vietnam that Russia didn’t want diplomacy

Wendy Sherman, the No. 2 official in the U.S. State Department, vowed to share with Vietnam details of the Biden administration’s discussions with Russia, which failed to stave off Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. (https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Ukraine-war/Putin-didn-t-want-diplomacy-U.S.-tells-neutral-Vietnam) Speaking in Ho Chi Minh City on June 11, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said Russia rejected diplomatic solutions to head off the Ukraine war.