Myanmar skips ASEAN summit after its military ruler excluded

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Southeast Asian leaders have begun their annual summit without Myanmar amid a diplomatic standoff over the exclusion of the leader of the military-ruled nation from the group’s meetings. Myanmar skipped the three-day summit in protest after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations shut out its top general from its meetings. The group’s refusal to allow Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to represent Myanmar at the summit was its harshest rebuke yet of the country’s military rulers since they ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February. The military takeover in Myanmar triggered widespread protests and a violent crackdown by authorities. Security forces are estimated to have killed almost 1,200 civilians.