Five out of 10 ASEAN member states gathered Thursday to meet with Myanmar's top diplomat over its prolonged political crisis while the other members boycotted the meeting, highlighting divisions over the issue within the bloc.
Thailand hosted the meeting between foreign ministers, attended by Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Meanwhile, Indonesia, which will chair ASEAN meetings next year, and four other nations were absent.
From Myanmar, Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin attended the meeting, the first time he has physically joined ASEAN colleagues since a military coup in the country took place in February last year.
The meeting came amid the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc urging Myanmar to follow up on the group's so-called five-point consensus agreed upon by leaders, including Myanmar junta chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing last year.
The five steps include an immediate end to the violence against the junta's political opponents and civilian protestors as well as dialogue between all related parties including former Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained.
ASEAN also involves Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.
At the last ASEAN summit held in Phnom Penh in November, the leaders of member states agreed to impose a timeline to ensure that Myanmar implements the group's road map for restoring democracy to the country, but they fell short of working out detailed responses.