The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc faces its toughest test in decades on Saturday when its leaders hold a special summit in the Indonesian capital Jakarta to discuss the political turmoil in Myanmar.
So far, the bloc's response to the crisis has been mixed. Brunei, which holds the ASEAN chairmanship this year, issued a strong statement soon after the February 1 coup. Meanwhile, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have employed tougher language than usual over the internal politics of a fellow member. But several of the region's authoritarian countries, which have veto power in an organization run on the principle of consensus-based decision-making, are believed to be ready to oppose any attempt by ASEAN to backtrack from its long-held policy of non-interference. The main problem for ASEAN, according to sources who spoke to DW, is it has "neither the carrots nor the sticks" with which to entice Myanmar's military junta to fundamentally alter its ways.
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