Rohingya issue is between Myanmar and Bangladesh, says China diplomat at UN summit meeting
China wants international community to play ‘constructive role’ in finding a resolution after voting against investigation into human rights abuses
China’s top diplomat has said the Rohingya issue should not be complicated, expanded or “internationalised”, as the United Nations prepares to set up a body to prepare evidence of human rights abuses in Myanmar.
China, along with the Philippines and Burundi, voted against the Human Rights Council motion on Thursday to establish the panel which will also look into possible genocide in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine. More than 100 countries were in favour.
“The Rakhine state issue is in essence an issue between Myanmar and Bangladesh,” Councillor Wang Yi told representatives of Bangladesh and Myanmar on the sidelines of the UN summit, at a meeting also attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Speaking to Bangladesh foreign minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali and Myanmar’s minister of the office of the state counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe, Wang said the Rakhine issue was a complex historical one.
He said Beijing hoped the two countries could find a resolution via talks, and that China was willing to continue to help provide a platform communication.
“The international community, including the United Nations, can also play a constructive role in this,” Wang said.
China has close relations with Myanmar and backs what Myanmar officials call a “legitimate counter-insurgency operation” in Rakhine. Beijing has also helped to block a resolution on the crisis at the UN Security Council.
Over the past year, more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the Buddhist-majority country to neighbouring Bangladesh following a military response to attacks on security posts by Rohingya insurgents.
The UN has called Myanmar’s actions “ethnic cleansing”, a charge Myanmar rejects, blaming Rohingya “terrorists” for most accounts of atrocities.