Prime Minister Hun Sen on January 8 indicated that anyone who “opposes the ceasefire” in Myanmar, which the military has purportedly extended until end-2022, merely wants to “see deaths and injuries as a result of war”.

The premier made the remark after his return to Cambodia from a widely-criticised trip to Myanmar, where he met with military chief General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of the ruling State Administration Council (SAC).

“Being against aid for Myanmar means wanting to see people starve to death, or perish due to the absence of medicine or Covid-19 vaccines,” Hun Sen posted on Facebook.

Myanmar has been embroiled in unrest since the military on February 1 declared a state of emergency due to perceived irregularities in the 2020 general elections, and transferred legislative, judicial and executive powers from the civilian administration led by Aung San Suu Kyi to General Min Aung Hlaing, as Defence Services commander-in-chief.

The situation has prompted internal disputes and controversies among ASEAN member states, which includes Cambodia and Myanmar, the former of which holds the bloc’s chairmanship this year.

Likely in response to critics of his trip, Hun Sen reiterated that his January 7-8 visit to Myanmar was to press for a prolonged ceasefire in the country and the equitable distribution of aid to those in need, so as to avert civil wars and humanitarian crises.

During their meeting, General Min Aung Hlaing confirmed to Hun Sen that the deadline for the current “ceasefire” with ethnic armed organisations (EAO) had been extended from February 28 to December 31.

The military leader signalled support for Hun Sen’s request concerning the provision of aid, and said he would open doors for the ASEAN chair to meet relevant stakeholders in the ongoing Myanmar conflict.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and special envoy to Myanmar Prak Sokhonn held a press conference on January 8 following the prime minister’s return to the Kingdom.

Sokhonn lauded the meeting between the two leaders as “good progress” towards the implementation of the five-point roadmap reached by ASEAN leaders in April last year designed to end the turmoil in Myanmar.

“What was achieved in the negotiations and discussions with the Myanmar leader is very positive and it is a step to advance the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus that the ASEAN leaders had agreed,” the minister said.

He echoed a similar view to that of Hun Sen, saying those who “oppose such progress” are “war-lovers” who do not want Myanmar to “return to peace”.