Sunday, October 20, 2019

In a new gesture, China links Rohingya issue with BCIM success

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-05-09 00:27:46 BdST


China, which protected Myanmar in the UN Security Council using its veto power, believes implementation of the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor can solve the Rohingya problem.

“The real solution of the problem lies in development,” Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Zhang Zuo said on Wednesday in Dhaka in a post-BRI, or Belt and Road Initiative, press briefing.

His comment came in the backdrop of the international pressure on Myanmar to accept Rohingyas as their citizens to make a sustainable solution of the decades-old crisis.

It took an appalling turn in Aug 2017 when over 700,000 Rohingya people fled ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the Rakhine State and took shelter in Bangladesh.

China has been wielding its veto power in the UN Security Council to ward off international pressure on Myanmar. The Chinese foreign minister was engaged with both Bangladesh and Myanmar to find a solution.

“China pays very close attention to the Rohingya issue,” the ambassador said one being asked.

“We also hope that in the process of implementing the BCIM economic corridor, we could come up with a very good solution to the Rohingya problem,” he said, appreciating Bangladesh for giving shelter to Rohingyas despite difficulties.

Zhang said China is willing “to continue to play a constructive role and we would like to provide as much help as we can, according to the needs of the both sides".

“Myanmar and Bangladesh could keep dialogue and keep communicating over this while keeping each other’s concerns in mind so that they can find ways to start substantial repatriation process as soon as possible.”

But the ambassador said repatriation is “only part of the overall solution proposed by China”.

“We believe that the real solution to the problem lies in development. So we hope that after the violence is stopped and the people are repatriated, the Rakhine state could be further developed. We believe that development could help effectively solve the poverty problem.”

China and Myanmar signed a document on the construction of economic corridor which, the ambassador said is a “very important” part of the BCIM.

“This can also be seen as one of the early outcomes of the larger BCIM project,” Zhang said, adding that they will work with all the other countries involved in the BCIM economic corridor initiative “to see early, substantial progress and early outcomes”. 

He also believes that India will not hold “any reservations” about the BCIM.


The ambassador said the second BRI meet from April 25 to 27 was “successfully” held in Beijing with the theme ‘Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future’.

Over 6,000 foreign guests from 150 countries and 92 international organisations took part in the forum.

They reached a broad consensus on “high-quality” belt and road cooperation, delivering substantial results.  He said the meet achieved “a series of remarkable outcomes”.

There are some major outcome highlights summarised from President Xi Jinping’s keynote speech, and the Joint Communique of the Leaders’ Roundtable.

Those are: drawing the blueprint for future cooperation actions, promoting a global partnership of connectivity, focusing on deepening practical cooperation, building long-term supporting mechanisms and committing to reform and opening up to show China’s sense of responsibility, among others.

“The BRI is a long-term project and a common cause for global partners. China would like to work with all parties to promote the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation in the spirit of an architect refining the blueprint,” the ambassador said.

“We are willing to, together with cooperative partners, sow the seeds and reap the fruits.”