(Bloomberg) -- Myanmar won’t be taking part in an annual summit of Southeast Asian countries on Tuesday after rejecting an invitation to send a non-political representative instead of its junta leader, a move that isolates its government internationally as it grapples with civil strife back home.

The Association of the Southeast Asian Nations took a rare step in excluding military leader Min Aung Hlaing on the grounds the regime has not done enough to end violence after seizing the government in a coup in February. Instead, the bloc extended an invitation to Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry diplomat to attend the summit, an offer the regime rejected late on Monday.

The “Myanmar representative is denied to equal rights enjoyed by other Asean member states,” the junta’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that accused Brunei as the current Asean chair of breaching the bloc’s charter. The country will pursue “due processes” under the charter to resolve the issue. 

Myanmar’s decision to skip the summit signals a further strain in ties between Asean and one of its own members as the bloc faces international pressure, particularly from the U.S., to hold the regime accountable for the worsening domestic situation.

While Myanmar’s military-backed government will not be present at the summit, the other nine Asean members will take part in high-profile meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday. 

In what could have also spurred Myanmar to stay away from the Asean summit, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan virtually met on Monday with representatives of the pro-democracy shadow government directly challenging the legitimacy of the junta to discuss the situation on the ground.

“Sullivan underscored continued U.S. support for the pro-democracy movement in Burma and they discussed ongoing efforts to restore Burma’s path to democracy,” the White House said in a statement. He was also concerned over the “Burmese military’s brutal violence and noted that the U.S. will continue to promote accountability for the coup.”

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