Bangladesh seeks cooperation from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar

·2-min read
Bangladesh seeks cooperation from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar

Bangladesh sought help from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar during a high-level bilateral visit on Sunday.

Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh’s junior minister for foreign affairs, said Beijing has vowed to work continuously with Dhaka to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

”Our foreign minister strongly reiterated that Chinese cooperation is needed. China has progressed on resolving the Rohingya issue and we need the situation to come to an end,” Mr Alam said.

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi was in Dhaka over the weekend, and met prime minister Sheikh Hasina and foreign minister AK Abdul Momen. They discussed bilateral and global issues.

Citing Mr Wang, the Mr Alam said Myanmar’s internal challenges were troubling other countries.

According to a UN fact-finding mission, Myanmar drove out 730,000 Rohingya from its land into Bangladesh in a military campaign in 2017, which saw “genocidal acts”.

Myanmar’s defence and security personnel have been accused of excesses against the community, including mass rapes, arson and killings, forcing them to flee the country. The report was rejected by Myanmar authorities, who termed the findings as “biased and flawed”. Myanmar also defended the crackdown and said that its forces were aiming at Rohingya rebels who had carried out attacks.

China, Bangladesh’s staunch ally, had brokered an agreement with Myanmar in November 2017 to pave the way for repatriation of the Rohingya Muslim refugees who had fled earlier that year.

But despite international efforts, the refugees were not ready to go back to Myanmar, which has been embroiled in massive civil and political unrest. The unrest intensified after the military takeover last year.

Dhaka and Beijing share strong ties, driven by trade deals between the two for raw materials.

During the visit, Mr Wang and his counterpart Mr Momen agreed on better trade ties, investment and support for infrastructure development in the South Asian nation.

During his meeting with the Bangladeshi prime minister, Mr Wang told Ms Hasina that China regards Bangladesh as a “strategic development partner” and would continue to support it, presidential press secretary Ihsanul Karim said.

He also vowed that China will stand next to Bangladesh “on all issues at international forums”, according to the United News of Bangladesh agency.

Ms Hasina brought up the international ramifications caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, leading to sanctions by western nations against Moscow.

She said that “people [across the world] are enduring difficult times … South Asia, Southeast Asia and China can work together for economic progress”, reported the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha, state-run news agency.

Talking to Mr Momen, Mr Wang also explained that “some countries misunderstand and misinterpret” China, the junior minister added. He did not elaborate further.

Mr Momen told reporters separately that Mr Wang also alleged that some Taiwanese people were being provoked against the sovereignty of China.

Additional reporting by agencies