Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi announced a change in the ASEAN chairmanship plan for 2026. The Philippines will chair instead of Myanmar as previously proposed. This agreement came after ASEAN leaders held in-depth discussions at the retreat of the 43rd ASEAN Summit (9/5).
The Foreign Minister's Special Assistant for Regional Diplomacy, Ngurah Swajaya, also stressed that ASEAN leaders unanimously hoped that the Philippines could assume the chairmanship in 2026, replacing Myanmar.
Ngurah pointed out that this agreement was drafted to give the Philippines enough time to prepare for the role of ASEAN chair in 2026.
On this occasion, Ngurah also stressed that the initiative for the Philippines to chair ASEAN in 2026 is not an independent effort of the Philippines. Instead, it is the result of a mutual agreement among ASEAN leaders.
According to the existing timetable, the ASEAN chairmanship in 2026 should be the responsibility of Myanmar, as the English alphabetical order places Myanmar ahead of the Philippines. The Philippines was supposed to take over in 2027.
However, during a meeting of ASEAN leaders, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. unequivocally expressed his willingness to chair ASEAN in 2026. He said he was ready to strengthen the foundation and provide direction for ASEAN's future journey.
Since the coup in 2021, ASEAN member states have decided to isolate Myanmar by excluding it from several meetings following the escalation of violence in the country.
Within the framework of ASEAN, these Southeast Asian countries initiated a special meeting to address the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, which was attended by the head of the junta, Min Aung Hlaing.
The meeting resulted in a five-point consensus. One of the most notable points was the insistence on cessation of violence in Myanmar and the promotion of constructive dialogue as a step toward a peaceful solution. In addition, ASEAN suggested that it could facilitate mediation, provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Center, and send a special envoy to Myanmar.
Unfortunately, the Myanmar military junta has not been in compliance with these points of agreement. To date, violence continues in Myanmar.