Political experts say the conflict in Burma is threatening the survival of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
ASEAN marked the 36th anniversary of its founding Friday with a seminar on its future held in Bangkok. Critics said the regional grouping will be rendered meaningless if Burma's military government does not reform before Rangoon assumes the group's chair in 2005.
But the panelists had differing opinions about how to handle the situation. Thai lawmaker Kobsak Chutikul said ASEAN should be rebuilt before Burma takes charge.
A political scientist from Thammasat University, Chulacheep Chinwanno, recommended a delicate approach in cooperation with influential nations in the region.
One of the founders of ASEAN, veteran politician Thanat Khoman, said member nations should resist the temptation to interfere in Burma's political dispute.