Prime Minister Hun Sen has informed Myanmar leader General Min Aung Hlaing that as chair of ASEAN, he will continue to push the ruling State Administration Council (SAC) to adopt the ASEAN five-point consensus (5PC).

The premier affirmed that he would not cease his efforts to do so despite criticism from some people in Myanmar.

Speaking at the inauguration of an upgraded section of National Road 7 in Kratie province on February 7, Hun Sen acknowledged that he did not expect to completely resolve the Myanmar issue during his one-year chairmanship.

He said that criticism of his early January visit to meet with Min Aung Hlaing was misguided; his only motivation was to help the people escape from civil war. His goal was to extinguish the flames of war, knowing that the democratic process would follow, he said.

“Can you overthrow the current ruler in Naypyidaw? How many soldiers do you have to fight the half a million soldiers in Myanmar with? If you want to wage war, perhaps I should let you,” Hun Sen asked rhetorically.

“I have tried so hard! But I will not give up my efforts as chair of ASEAN this year. I will continue to call on the leaders of Myanmar to adopt the five-point consensus,” he said.

While there had been criticism of his visit, the prime minister claimed that he had also received a lot of support for the visit as a viable way to avert violence.

“I want the prisoners to be released. I want the ceasefire [to be achieved]. I want humanitarian assistance to be delivered. I want conversation. Everything is possible with the five-point consensus,” he added.

Ro Vannak, co-founder of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy, told The Post on February 7 that the implementation of the five-point consensus was the right approach to the crisis in Myanmar because it was ASEAN’s common position.

“In doing so, Cambodia has been unfairly criticised by national and international pundits – and even some from within ASEAN – who allege that the Cambodia’s visit to meet with the military regime seemed to acknowledge the regime’s legitimacy,” he said.