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Dhaka Tribune

Chinese envoy: Let us wait and see what results come from ICJ

China continues its efforts in finding a solution to Rohingya issue, he says

Update : 13 Dec 2019, 01:44 PM

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming has said they want to see the results that come out from the court in The Hague. 

China hopes to see an early repatriation of Rohingyas and an eventual solution to the problem, he said on Friday, reports UNB.

On China’s view towards the case filed by The Gambia against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for violating the Genocide Convention, Ambassador Li said that China upholds the international order based on international law.

"Right now, let us wait and see what results come out from the court in The Hague," said the Chinese Ambassador during his recent visit to Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.

The Rohingya issue is complicated with deep historical and political roots, he said.

He said China supports Bangladesh and Myanmar to solve the issue through bilateral means with the international community playing a constructive role. 

All other countries, the ambassador said, should avoid the risk of further complicating the situation..

On December 11-12, Ambassador Jiming accompanied Chen Zhu, vice president of IFRC and chairman of Red Cross Society of China to visit Cox’s Bazar.

At the end of the visit, Ambassador Li, together with Chen Zhu, responded to questions from the media.

Ambassador Li said the visit marks another important move of China in carrying forward the consensuses achieved during the third informal meeting between China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar in New York this September, and another significant step from China in finding a solution to the Rohingya issue.

Chen Zhu met with key officials from RRRC, UNHCR and BDRCS, had in-depth exchanges over the current situation, and visited relevant projects by BDRCS and UNHCR in the camps.

Chen just came out of a side meeting in Geneva focusing on the Rohingya issue before the visit to Bangladesh, where he publicly called for coordinated actions from IFRC for continued humanitarian support for Bangladesh.

Ambassador Li said China highly respects and commends Bangladesh’s humanitarian acts of receiving and providing the displaced Rohingya people with food and shelter.

"As a trustworthy friend and partner of both Bangladesh and Myanmar, China plays a unique role in the effort to find a sustainable solution to the issue. And we have been taking actions since the very beginning," said the ambassador.

Back in November 2017, not long after the outbreak of the current Rohingya crisis, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Bangladesh and Myanmar to mediate between the two neighbours and came up with the suggestion of a three-phased solution, namely “cessation of violence, repatriation, and development”, which has served as an important road map for the repatriation endeavor, according to Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.

In the past two years, Sate Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired three rounds of informal meetings between China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, with wide consensus being achieved, it said.

During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to China in July, Chinese President Xi mentioned to her that China appreciates Bangladesh’s generosity to shelter the displaced people, and will support all concerned parties to handle the issue properly through friendly negotiation.

Ambassador Li told the media that apart from political efforts in advancing the repatriation process, China also contributes in humanitarian support for the Rohingya people.

On September 27 and 28, 2017, one month right after the violent incident in Rakhine State that triggered the huge influx of Rohingyas into Bangladesh, two Chinese cargo flights carrying 2000 emergency tents and 3000 blankets arrived at Chittagong International Airport in support of Bangladesh to accommodate the temporarily displaced Roghingyas.

During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to China in July, China and Bangladesh signed an agreement where China would provide 2500 tons of rice to help the Rohingyas.

In view of the highly constrained medical resources available for both the Rohingyas and the local community in and around the camps, China also deployed a medical team to provide free health care services to the people in need.

The team arrived in Cox’s Bazar last month and it has so far distributed hundreds of emergency medical kits.

Following the important political commitment demonstrated by leaders from all three countries, China has been taking proactive actions to encourage the commencement of the repatriation process.

One is the establishment of the tripartite joint working mechanism, directly led by Ambassadors of China and Myanmar to Bangladesh and DG of Myanmar Wing of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh.

The mechanism is aimed at delving into technical and operational difficulties in the repatriation process through candid and frequent discussions, and some common ground has been successfully identified during the first meeting of the joint working mechanism, said the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.   

Verified Rohingyas, Hindus prioritized   

The 3,450 Rohingyas who have been verified by Bangladesh and Myanmar, the Hindu Rohingyas and those living along the “zero-line” are prioritized groups for early repatriation, the Chinese Embassy said.

Myanmar will engage more with the displaced people for trust building by sending senior delegation to Cox’s Bazar and having face-to-face talks with the Rohingya people, and it will change the wording on NVC to removing misunderstanding, it said.

Bangladesh agreed to allocate more resources and manpower to Cox’s Bazar and to adopt a more pragmatic approach to repatriation, said the Embassy.   

Ambassador Li said the successful repatriation experiences between Bangladesh and Myanmar from the past clearly suggest that the issue should be solved bilaterally, while soliciting intervention from outside would most likely add to the complexity of the problem.

He said China believes that it is in the best interest of everyone that other countries in the world, including China, should only offer constructive help and mediation. "And this is exactly what China has been doing the whole time."

There seems to be an over exaggeration of what kind of role China could play in solving the issue, as a great number of people tend to overestimate China’s “influence” over Myanmar, said a media release issued by the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.    

If someone thinks repatriation will happen simply by China pressuring Myanmar, or that Myanmar will do whatever China says, China is given too much credit, it said.

"Please remember that Myanmar is a sovereign country as Bangladesh is. What China can do is to offer suggestions and coordination as a friend of equal status, and it totally depends on Myanmar that whether they would accept it or not, said the Chinese ambassador.

Ambassador Li Jiming and his colleague in Yangon Ambassador Chen Hai, as well as so many of their colleagues who care about the current situation, have been trying their best to come up with whatever suggestions they deem the most effective for Bangladesh and Myanmar to consider. 

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