BANGKOK – Myanmar joined Asean in 1997 when the region was ravaged by a global financial crisis.
The next few years were excruciating. The European Union was appalled by Myanmar’s human rights record, and Asean-EU ministerial meetings were repeatedly postponed. In 2005, the Myanmar regime – having rebuffed attempts to secure the release democracy figure Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest – was forced to give up its Asean chairmanship for the following year.
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