Bangladesh, Myanmar ministers sit in Beijing as China starts mediating Rohingya repatriation

China believes that starting the Rohingya repatriation from Bangladesh is the “most urgent” issue right now.

Published : 8 July 2018, 11:06 AM
Updated : 8 July 2018, 11:06 AM

Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed during an informal meeting in Beijing that they should try to improve the situation in the Rakhine State in three steps – to stop violence, to start repatriation as soon as possible and to promote local development, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Zuo said on Sunday.

Myanmar’s Union Minister for the State Counsellor's Office Kyaw Tint Swe and Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali met in the last week of June.

Apart from the individual bilateral meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a meeting with both of them.

China, which has very close economic and diplomatic ties with Myanmar, has been maintaining that it wants to play a ‘constructive’ role to resolve the crisis after the Aug 25 military crackdown last year in Rakhine State following which over 700,000 Muslim Rohingya fled into Bangladesh.

China, however, vetoed in the UN Security Council to prevent any resolution against Myanmar.

The ambassador earlier said China has ‘no personal interest’ in the Rohingya episode and was making a “genuine effort” to help Bangladesh and Myanmar solve the problem.

The Chinese foreign minister also visited Bangladesh after the exodus.

Ambassador Zhang Zuo said the “informal” meeting in Beijing was “fruitful”.

On the basis of the Bangladesh-Myanmar agreement, he said, “China will try to promote the negotiation process between Myanmar and Bangladesh to find a common solution to the Rohingya crisis.”

This is “good” for the relations of Bangladesh and Myanmar and also “good” for the security and peace of the region, he said replying to questions after a media workshop at the embassy in Dhaka on Sunday.

“The second is that the most urgent issue is right now is to start repatriation,” he said, emphasising practical steps in early repatriation.

China is willing to provide help and assistance for the improvements of situation in the Rakhine State including humanitarian assistance and also construction of different structures, said Zhang Zuo.

Both countries should make full use of their respective advantages to cooperate in the development of border areas and the livelihood of the local people, he said.

The envoy also called upon the journalists to give a “comprehensive view” of the relations between Bangladesh and China and Bangladesh and Myanmar of “misinterpretation” because of one particular issue.

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu was present as chief guest at the workshop attended by editors and senior journalists.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher