Solve Rohingya crisis bilaterally, China urges Bangladesh, Myanmar

DHAKA • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has urged Bangladesh and Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis through bilateral negotiations instead of an international initiative.

"The international community should not complicate the situation," Mr Wang said in a press briefing on Saturday at the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.

"Actions in the United Nations Security Council must help Bangladesh-Myanmar bilateral cooperation to resolve the problem peacefully", he told reporters.

Mr 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.

"China supports resolving the crisis peacefully, bilaterally with mutual consultation between Bangladesh and Myanmar," he said.

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since late August, driven out by a military clearance operation in Buddhist majority Myanmar's Rakhine state.

"It is a complex situation and needs a comprehensive solution. Economic development of Rakhine state is needed. China is ready to help," Mr Wang said.

Earlier in the day, he met Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence in Dhaka and assured her of China's support in solving the crisis.

AVOIDING COMPLICATIONS

The international community should not complicate the situation. Actions in the United Nations Security Council must help Bangladesh-Myanmar bilateral cooperation to resolve the problem peacefully.

CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER WANG YI

Madam Hasina's private secretary, Mr Ihsanul Karim, quoted her as saying: "Myanmar will have to take back their nationals, ensuring their safety, security and dignity for a durable solution to the crisis.

"We will not allow the land of Bangladesh to be used by any terrorist group to commit any act of insurgency in neighbouring countries."

Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali told Mr Wang that Bangladesh is 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, Mr Wang stated China would help resolve the issue and not be partial to any side.

He acknowledged that Bangladesh is facing the brunt of the continuing influx of Rohingya refugees, the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry statement said.

Yesterday, Bangladesh said it is in negotiations with Myanmar aimed at a deal to repatriate Rohingya refugees and that Dhaka's Foreign Minister will address the matter at talks in Myanmar this week.

The foreign ministry statement said the two countries "expect to form a joint working group to facilitate the repatriation".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2017, with the headline 'Solve Rohingya crisis bilaterally, China urges Bangladesh, Myanmar'. Print Edition | Subscribe