Bid to resolve refugee issue


DHAKA: Bangladesh sought cooperation from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar during a visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who promised better trade ties, investment and support for infrastructure development in the South Asian nation.

China had used its influence in Myanmar to broker a November 2017 agreement to repatriate about 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar in August that year.

Despite attempts to send them back, the refugees refused, fearing danger in Myanmar, which was exacerbated by the military takeover last year.

Wang arrived in Dhaka on Saturday evening and met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen.

They discussed bilateral and global issues before his departure on Sunday morning, said Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh’s junior minister for foreign affairs.

Bangladesh has strong relations with China, which is a major trade partner mostly for raw materials.

More than 500 Chinese companies are active in Bangladesh.

China is involved in the country’s major infrastructure projects such as seaports, a river tunnel and highways, and helped build its largest bridge over the River Padma at a cost of US$3.6bil (RM16bil).

Amid recent tensions between China and Taiwan, Bangladesh issued a statement reiterating its support for the “one-China” policy.

On Sunday, Wang told Sheikh Hasina during a courtesy call that his country considers Bangladesh as a “strategic development partner” and would continue to support it, said Ihsanul Karim, the presidential press secretary.

Shahriar said China pledged to work continuously to resolve the Rohingya crisis and quoted Wang as saying that the internal challenges in Myanmar were not only troubling Bangladesh but also other countries.

“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,” Shahriar said.

Bangladesh and China signed or renewed four agreements and memorandums of understanding on disaster management, infrastructure and cultural exchanges. — AP

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Bangladesh , cooperation , Rohingya , refugees , Wang Yi

   

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