Dhaka – The Chinese envoy in Dhaka has termed the Rohingya crisis as a “quarrel between two neighbours” and it should be solved bilaterally.
“We just try to persuade the whole international community, please (solve it) just through dialogue, through negotiations, through discussions especially bilateral ways, because it’s a quarrel between two neighbours,” said Li Jiming, the Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh, on Monday.
Jiming was Briefing the members Diplomatic Correspondent Association of Bangladesh in Dhaka.
Bangladesh has been hosting on humanitarian ground more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims who fled persecution in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state for years. Of them, nearly 750,000 crossed the border after Myanmar military launched a crackdown against its ethnic minority group in August 2017.
The UN termed the crackdown a textbook example of ethnic cleansing while the global rights groups called it a crime against humanity and accused the Myanmar soldiers of genocide against Rohingya Muslims.
The process of repatriation of the refugees stalled thanks to an apparent insincerity by Myanmar, which agreed with Bangladesh in November 2017 to take back the displaced Rohingya who were stripped of their citizenship my the military junta in the 1980s.
During the talks, the Chinese ambassador responded to questions on the health emergency announced in his country after the new coronavirus outbreak that killed more than 17,000 people since December. He also responded to questions on damages the Chinese economy faced because of the global health emergency.
Beside the epidemic, his attention was drawn on the refugee crisis that Bangladesh has been facing for a long time and the role of China in helping resolve it.
Jiming initially said that his country had sincerely been trying to resolve the crisis through tripartite negotiations. He darted a question on the International Court of Justice that dealing an allegation of genocide against Myanmar saying let the court decide whether it was genocide or not.
To a question whether China was trying to save Myanmar in the international forum on Rohingya crisis, the Chinese ambassador replied in the negative saying both Bangladesh and Myanmar are friends to it.
“We are friend of Bangladesh and Myanmar… As a friend we are trying to be helpful to solve the crisis. Two neighbours are quarreling as a friend you probably try to stop their quarrelling, try to calm them down.”
He continued, “What China is doing in the international platform, we are not protecting anyone.”
But he said if you push Myanmar too hard, there will be some misunderstanding from the general society of the country. “We may not accept these kind of pressures, especially those from some western countries.”
Myanmar people under the pressure of western countries for many, many years may have some fundamental reactions of resistance to the pressures, he said.
“This pressure to Chinese people so long we understand …because you see 70 years to go China is always facing same pressure from the Western powers. So we intent not to take those kind of pressures, and we will rather not probably cooperating with those who are imposing these kind of pressure to us. That is the basic idea.”
We just try to persuade the whole international community to resolve the crisis through negotiation, he said.