Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to skip Asean summit in Singapore

It’s the first time she will miss a gathering of the group since her party came to power in 2016

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 April, 2018, 9:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 April, 2018, 9:48pm

Myanmar’s unofficial leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not attend this weekend’s Asean summit in Singapore, a government spokesman said on Monday, which would make it the first time for her to skip one since her party came to power in 2016.

Instead, President Win Myint, who was sworn-in last month, will represent Myanmar at Saturday’s summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, presidential spokesman Zaw Htay said.

He did not explain why Suu Kyi, who has dual roles of state counsellor and foreign minister, will miss the summit and whether it might be due to criticism of her and the government’s handling of the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Suu Kyi was pressed on that issue when she took part in a three-day special summit between Asean and Australia in Sydney last month.

She has been under intense global criticism for her public silence amid alleged atrocities committed by the military against Rohingya Muslims, forcing nearly 700,000 of them to flee across the border to Bangladesh since last August.

Last week, Union Government Office minister Thaung Tun said Suu Kyi has “a lot of issues [to handle] and she can’t be away all the time”.

She was most recently in Vietnam for two days last week for bilateral visit.

Suu Kyi represented her government at the last year’s two Asean summits in the Philippines and the two held the previous year in Laos.