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China believes hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees can return to Myanmar

China has already provided prefabricated houses to Myanmar for those who go back

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 June, 2018, 4:36pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 June, 2018, 4:57pm

China believes that Myanmar is now ready to take back hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims sheltering in Bangladesh who have fled violence in the former Burma, the Chinese government’s top diplomat told his Bangladeshi opposite number on Friday.

Since August 2017, about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled a military crackdown in mainly Buddhist Myanmar, many reporting killings, rape and arson on a large scale in the western state of Rakhine, UN and other aid organisations have said.

Myanmar continues ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims, US finds

In May, the United Nations said it had struck an outline deal with Myanmar aimed at eventually allowing them to return.

Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that on Thursday he met minister of Myanmar’s State Counsellor Office Kyaw Tint Swe in Beijing, and heard a report from him on how Myanmar was trying to resolve the repatriation issue.

“I strongly felt that the Myanmar side has already prepared to receive these people who have entered Bangladesh to take refuge,” Wang said, speaking to reporters with Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali at his side.

“We really hope to see that the return process, especially the first batch of returnees, can be realised as quickly as possible,” Wang said.

China will provide help and play a constructive role, and it has already provided prefabricated houses to Myanmar for those who return, and for Bangladesh China has given tents and other humanitarian supplies, he added.

“We would like to see and believe that with the hard work of Bangladesh and Myanmar, this repatriation process can begin as soon as possible.”

China has close relations with Myanmar, and has backed what Myanmar officials call a legitimate counter-insurgency operation in Rakhine.

Beijing condemns fighting in Myanmar near China border

Ali said he had detailed talks with Wang about the Rohingya.

“In this regard we have sought China’s support in ensuring a conducive environment in Rakhine state for early repatriation of these displaced people back to their homeland,” he said.

“I think we have received tremendous support from China on how to resolve this problem.”