China Offers a Three-point Solution for Rohingya Refugee Crisis in Myanmar
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka on Nov. 18 and Myanmar State Counsellor and Foreign Affairs Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Nov. 19. The three leaders exchanged their views on bilateral relations and cooperation between China and the two countries, particularly discussing the Rohingya refugee crisis. At a joint press conference on Sunday with the Myanmar leader, Wang outlined a three-point solution that aims to allow Myanmar and Bangladesh to resolve the crisis that has seen more than 600,000 Muslims flee across the border into Bangladesh since last August.
China’s plan starts with a ceasefire in Rakhine State "so that local residents can no longer be displaced", and then moves to calls for the international community to encourage Myanmar and Bangladesh to keep up talks to find a feasible solution after the two nations reached an initial agreement on the repatriation of refugees. The final phase would involve finding a long-term solution that focuses on poverty alleviation.
China said on Nov, 20 that Myanmar and Bangladesh have backed its plan to resolve the crisis. "This proposal was approved in Bangladesh by Bangladesh leaders. Yesterday, it also won approval from Myanmar leaders," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a regular news briefing.
"We hope that the relevant proposals can not only be useful in resolving the Rohingya issue at present but can also help solve this problem at its root," Lu said.
The Rohingya people are a Muslim minority group residing in the Rakhine state. The Myanmar government has been refusing to recognize them as one of the ethnic groups of the country due to their religious identity. For this reason, the Rohingya people lack legal protection from the Government of Myanmar and face strong hostility in the country. They are thus called one of the most persecuted people on earth by Amnesty International, and thousands of them have been
compelled to flee their homes to immigrate into Bangladesh by land, as well as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand by sea.
The latest tensions were sparked in August when militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked 25 police and army posts, killing a dozen of security officials in Rakhine state. The military responded with what it calls “clearance operations.” Multiple reports have since accused security forces and Buddhist vigilantes of indiscriminately attacking Muslims in the state and burning their villages, with the United Nations describing the campaign as "ethnic cleansing." Myanmar has thus been widely criticized under a peak of international pressure after the democratic opening.