Chinese envoy discusses with foreign minister the importance of strengthening communication channels between Dhaka and Naypyidaw
China, the most influential backer of Myanmar, is still in favour of Beijing helping to find a solution to the Rohingya crisis through bilateral engagements between Dhaka and Naypyidaw.
“This (bilateralism) has always been China’s longstanding position regarding the Rohingya crisis, and, we are not seeing any change,” a senior Foreign Ministry official told Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday.
Another senior official said: “China thinks of Myanmar and Bangladesh as its friends. Therefore, it wants to facilitate the bilateral engagements to solve the crisis in a manner so that no friend feels unhappy.”
However, the officials noted that it remained to be seen whether China’s bilateralism policy works or not in the future.
So far, they said, Beijing’s policy has not worked despite the fact that Bangladesh which currently hosts over 1.1 million Rohingyas, signed an arrangement with Myanmar in November 23, 2017, for the repatriation of the Rohingyas after being “encouraged by China.”
Bangladesh believes that only a concerted and persistent international pressure can force Myanmar to take back hundreds of thousands of its own people who were forced to cross into Cox's Bazar to escape atrocities committed by the country’s security forces, local Buddhist mobs, and people from other ethnic groups in Rakhine state.
Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka, Zhang Zuo, yesterday reiterated Beijing’s position yet again when he met Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at his office in Dhaka, officials said.
The upcoming visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to China was also discussed, they said.
Meanwhile, according to a Foreign Ministry press release, the Chinese envoy also briefed the foreign minister about his recent visit to a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.
“Ambassador Zhang underlined the importance of strengthening communication channels between Bangladesh and Myanmar to find a solution to the Rohingya crisis,” said the press release.
Momen sought China’s support to convince Myanmar to start taking back their people at the earliest. He also said that Bangladesh is ready to send back the Rohingyas who are on the verified list.
The minister also requested Zhang to redouble their efforts so that agreements and decisions reached at leaders’ summit in the past could be implemented quickly, to which the Chinese envoy assured full cooperation.