China willing to help Bangladesh and Myanmar defuse Rohingya crisis, says foreign minister
Wang Yi uses visit to Dhaka to signal Beijing is prepared to help find peaceful solution to conflict that has displaced 600,000 people
China is willing to help Bangladesh and Myanmar solve the Rohingya crisis, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after meeting his counterpart in Dhaka on Saturday.
More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since late August driven out by a military clearance operation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State which the United Nations has said amounts to ethnic cleansing.
Buddhist-majority Myanmar has faced growing international anger over its treatment of the Rohingya – amid widespread reports of murders and rapes committed by the armed forces – but China has helped shield the country from censure.
“China supports resolving the crisis peacefully, bilaterally with mutual consultation between Bangladesh and Myanmar,” Wang said at the Chinese embassy in Dhaka.
“It is a complex situation and needs a comprehensive solution. Economic development of Rakhine State is needed. China is ready to help.”
Wang arrived in Bangladesh on Saturday for a two-day visit and from there he will go to Myanmar to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting.
Dhaka hopes it will put pressure on Myanmar to take back hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Wang said China held the view that the Rohingya issue could only be solved properly by the consultations between Bangladesh and Myanmar, and only by this way could the agreement be accepted by the parties concerned and be sustainable, Xinhua reported.
“The international community should not complicate the situation,” Wang said.
“Actions in the United Nations Security Council must help Bangladesh-Myanmar bilateral cooperation to resolve the problem peacefully.”
Earlier in the day Wang also met Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and assured her of China’s support in solving the crisis.
“Myanmar will have to take back their nationals ensuring their safety, security and dignity for a durable solution to the crisis,” Hasina’s private secretary Ihsanul Karim quoted the prime minister as saying.
“We will not allow the land of Bangladesh to be used by any terrorist group to commit any act of insurgency in neighbouring countries.”
Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali told Wang that Bangladesh was trying to resolve the issue both bilaterally and internationally as it could not afford the huge burden of the refugees.
A statement from Bangladesh’s foreign ministry said that when the issue of displaced Myanmar nationals was raised, Wang stated that China would help resolve the issue and would not favour any side.
He acknowledged that Bangladesh was facing the brunt of continuing influx of Rohingya refugees, the Bangladeshi statement said.
Bangladesh also hosted a delegation of US congressmen investigating the crisis on Saturday, while foreign ministers from Europe and Japan were visiting on Sunday.
Reuters, Agence France-Presse