Myanmar army chief broke protocol to meet pope before Suu Kyi

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing poses in a helicopter. Photo: Facebook
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing poses in a helicopter. Photo: Facebook

The Vatican has acknowledged that Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing caused a protocol breach when he requested to meet Pope Francis shortly after his arrival on Monday. The pope was originally scheduled to meet the general on Wednesday.

According to protocol, the pope was meant to be officially greeted by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw on Tuesday. The senior general’s upending of the schedule has been interpreted as a declaration of his supremacy in the country’s leadership. The military controls three key ministries and veto power in the national parliament.

It was during this 15-minute meeting on Monday that Min Aung Hlaing told the pope that there is no ethnic or religious discrimination in Myanmar.

Holy See spokesperson Greg Burke told reporters last night that the official welcoming form Suu Kyi would have been “cleaner from a protocol point of view.”

“I’m sure the pope would have preferred meeting the general after he had done the official visits,” he said.

Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on