Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) began a virtual six-day meeting on Monday with the situation in Myanmar high on the agenda. The meeting is hosted by Brunei, which chairs the bloc this year. ASEAN hopes to convince Myanmar to accept the group’s envoy. The envoy is expected to help promote dialogue between the Myanmar military and its opponents, after the military seized control of the government in February. The COVID-19 situation will also be discussed, with member countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia seeing their worst coronavirus outbreaks yet.
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Brunei, officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace, is a country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, the country is completely surrounded by the insular Malaysian state of Sarawak.
It is separated into two parts by the Sarawak district of Limbang. Brunei is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island’s territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei’s population was 428,963 in 2018.
The government is an absolute monarchy under the Sultan, which implements a combination of English common law and sharia law, as well as direct general Islamic practices.
Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a transcontinental country in Southeast Asia and Oceania, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It consists of more than seventeen thousand islands, including Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi, and New Guinea. Jakarta is the capital.
Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. It’s known for its beaches, rainforests and mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to colonial buildings, busy shopping districts such as Bukit Bintang and skyscrapers such as the iconic, 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers.
Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the country’s largest city, is home to bustling markets, numerous parks and lakes, and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains Buddhist relics and dates to the 6th century.
Thailand is a Southeast Asian country. It’s known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern cityscape rises next to quiet canalside communities and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). Nearby beach resorts include bustling Pattaya and fashionable Hua Hin.