The announcement of the amnesty came just days after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Myanmar is a member, announced that it would exclude the head of the junta, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, from an upcoming meeting of regional leaders.
The 10-member association, commonly known as ASEAN, rarely interferes in the affairs of member nations, but it appears to be making an exception with Myanmar.
In April, the leaders met to discuss the coup and invited General Min Aung Hlaing, seemingly recognizing him as Myanmar’s leader. They agreed on a five-point plan calling on the regime to end the violence immediately and subsequently appointed an envoy — the Brunei diplomat Erywan Yusof — who was expected to visit Myanmar.
But Myanmar has refused to let him meet with Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under arrest and faces trial on numerous criminal charges, and the envoy has yet to visit the country.
Aaron Connelly, a research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, said that it was too soon to know whether the release of prisoners was a response to ASEAN’s seemingly tougher attitude.