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Cover Photo: Office of Myanmar's Commander-in-Chief

The Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force participated in an ASEAN Air Chiefs Conference chaired by the Myanmar military, ignoring sanctions imposed on the Myanmarese government by several nations.

On 14 September 2023, a picture of ACM Alongkorn Vannarot, Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force, was posted on the website of the Supreme Commander of Myanmar. He was participating in the 20th ASEAN Air Chiefs Conference in Myanmar, which took place from 12 September to 15 September. The conference was hosted by Myanmar’s Air Force Chief General Htun Aung.

General Htun Aung(4th from the left)

ACM Alongkorn Vannarot(On the right side of Htun Aung)

The conference was held under the theme “ASEAN Air Forces’ Cooperation for Sustainable Environment”

Veteran military reporter Wassana Nanuam remarked that the conference tried to avoid political and military issues and instead focused on environmental matters.

In addition to Thailand, other ASEAN countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, also participated in the conference. The Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia chose not attend.

General Htun Aung has been sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada.

Since Min Aung Hlaing seized power and ousted the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmar military has repeatedly used airstrikes against armed opposition groups and civilians.

General Htun Aung was appointed chief of the Myanmar Air Force in January 2022.

According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, approximately 1,000 people lost their lives between 10 January 2022 and 31 July 2023 in 930 air strikes launched by Htun Aung’s command.

Yadanar Maung, a spokesperson for Justice For Myanmar, stated that participation in this conference showed disregard for the lives of the Myanmarese people and undermined efforts to resolve the crisis in Myanmar through the five consensus principle agreement.

“It cannot be denied that ASEAN is legitimising and encouraging war criminals through defence and security cooperation, jeopardising the lives of the Myanmarese people and exacerbating the crisis,” added the spokesperson.

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