Dhaka – Chinese leader Xi Jinping has agreed with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, who fled a brutal military crackdown at home, must return to Myanmar.
The both nations want a speedy solution to the crisis that intensified after the mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims in the face of a military crackdown in northern Rakhine state of Myanmar in August 2017.
The intention of the two leaders – Jinping and Hasina – were expressed at a meeting between them in Beijing on Friday as the Bangladeshi leader, who is on a visit to China, made a courtesy call to the Chinese President.
“The two leaders have agreed on solving the Rohingya problem fast and said it cannot be kept unresolved,” Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque told reporters after the meeting held at Diaoyuati State Guest House in Beijing.
Bangladesh and Myanmar in November 2017, two months after the Rohingya exodus began, signed an agreement for voluntary and dignified return of the refugees to their homes.
And since then Dhaka has been trying for peaceful repatriation of the refugees living in the south-eastern Bangladeshi district of Cox’s Bazar bordering the Rakhine state of Myanmar.
Bangladesh Prime Minister discussed the issue at bilateral, regional and international levels for an early solution to the crisis, and took it to the Chinese leadership considering China as one of the major economic powerhouse in the region.
Bangladesh has now been hosting more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims who were driven away from their homes in Myanmar. Of them nearly 750,000 crossed the border after the August 2017 crackdown.
Both Bangladeshi Prime Minister and the Chinese President said they have no disagreement among them as to how the problem would be solved. They believe the Rohingya must go back home, according to the Foreign Secretary.
He said the two leaders mentioned that the representatives of the two countries would work together.
Hasina told the meeting that hosting a huge number of Rohingya is a big challenge for a country like Bangladesh, said the foreign secretary adding that the Bangladeshi premier sought cooperation from the Chinese leader so that the refugees could return to their homes.
In reply, the Chinese president said they previously worked with both Bangladesh and Myanmar for solving the crisis and will continue to do so.
“We want the Rohingya to go back,” the foreign secretary quoted the Chinese president as saying.
Jinping told the meeting that the Myanmar minister, who works on the Rohingya issue, might visit Bangladesh again and it is expected that it will create another possibility for solving the problem.
Haque said as some questions were raised by the Chinese president, the prime minister highlighted various aspects of the Rohingya crisis.
Hasina said the Rohingya do not want to go back to their homeland as they have a fear that they may be persecuted again.
In this connection, the prime minister requested the Chinese president to use their “good will”, according to state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency.
Jinping said as this is happening not beyond the international attention, the possibility of its repetition is very less.
Turning to the projects being implemented in Bangladesh with Chinese assistance, the premier said during the Chinese President’s visit to Bangladesh in 2016, as many as 27 agreements and MoUs were signed between the two countries.
She put emphasis on expediting the implementation process of the projects.
Hasina requested the Chinese President to ease the terms and condition of loan agreements for timely disbursement of fund for expediting the implementation process of the projects.
In response, Xi Jinping said he will take proper measures about the matter.
Hasina invited Chinese companies to invest in Bangladesh with a buy-back facility to ease the big trade imbalance against Bangladesh.