Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations met in Indonesia Tuesday, with Myanmar's deadlocked political crisis expected to dominate discussions.

Indonesia, the group's rotating chair this year, said it has succeeded in engaging with all stakeholders in Myanmar, where the military seized power by ousting the democratically-elected government in a February 2021 coup.

But it is unknown whether Jakarta will detail to the nine other ASEAN member states what it has achieved nor whether it will discuss concrete measures to break the deadlock amid the Myanmar junta's ongoing campaign of violence against pro-democracy forces.

Riot police arrest anti-coup protesters on Feb. 27, 2021, in Yangon, Myanmar. (Getty/Kyodo)

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea are among other topics to be discussed at the two-day meeting. A series of ASEAN-sponsored foreign ministerial talks with its partner nations will be held in Jakarta later this week

Myanmar will not take part in the meetings as Indonesia has abided by the ASEAN position allowing the junta to only send a nonpolitical representative.

Myanmar did, however, participate in a forum for ASEAN member states hosted by Thailand last month as Bangkok invited the junta's foreign minister, demonstrating the divisions between ASEAN countries that accept military rule to some extent and those that do not.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore did not attend the forum in Thailand due to the involvement of Myanmar.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters Friday that the country has held talks with all stakeholders in Myanmar.

"It included my in-person engagements either with NUG and SAC foreign ministers for several times," Marsudi said, referring to the National Unity Government, the Myanmar government-in-exile, and the State Administration Council, the official name of the junta.

"Now, it is time (to move forward) -- encouraging a national, inclusive dialogue among all of the stakeholders," she added.

But little progress has been made regarding a five-point consensus reached between Myanmar and other ASEAN members in April 2021. It aimed to end violence against the junta's political opponents and civilian protesters.

Myanmar's junta chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing inspects troops during an annual military parade in the country's administrative capital of Naypyitaw on March 27, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Thousands of Myanmar nationals have been killed in crackdowns by the junta as well as in conflicts between the military and pro-democracy forces. Many political dissidents, including the country's de facto leader until the coup Aung San Suu Kyi, have been detained.

Expectations that Indonesia would tackle the Myanmar issue had been high, in comparison to last year's chair Cambodia whose leader Hun Sen has a long history of attacking his own domestic political opponents.

But some ASEAN nations are now skeptical about Jakarta's initiatives given its reluctance to share with fellow members how it has engaged with Myanmar, taking a so-called approach of "quiet diplomacy."

Commentators have said Indonesia should consider balancing its preference for working behind the scenes with making public disclosures and have stressed Jakarta also needs to show assertiveness, along with other like-minded members such as Malaysia and Singapore, to seek a solution to the crisis.

ASEAN foreign ministers will also discuss issues surrounding the South China Sea as they have been in negotiations over adopting a "code of conduct" agreement governing the maritime area.

ASEAN and China are currently drawing up the code to help avert confrontations.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Last year, the region agreed in principle to admit East Timor as its 11th member, granting the nation observer status until it joins the bloc.

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