China assures Bangladesh assistance for Rohingya repatriation

Dhaka: Beijing has assured Dhaka of assistance for the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims living in Bangladeshi camps after fleeing violent persecution in Myanmar, with China constructing some 3,000 homes to accommodate returnees.

Bangladesh has been hosting more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims, reports dpa news agency.

Some 750,000 people crossed the border after Myanmar launched a military crackdown on the minority group in 2017.

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Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told a news conference he had met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Dhaka on Sunday.

Momen said the Chinese minister informed the meeting that his country had already constructed 3,000 homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state for the prospective returnees.

“China will also arrange initial food support for them once (the refugees) are returned,” Momen said.

“We must thank (China) that they agreed to do that,” the Minister said, adding that verification of the identity of the refugees was underway.

Myanmar has so far checked identity of some 58,000 people as Bangladesh sent biometric data of more than 800,000 refugees living in the camps located in the south-eastern district of Cox’s Bazar, according to officials.

Yi, who arrived in Dhaka on a two-day visit on Saturday, was not present at the news briefing as he had left Dhaka for Ulaanbaatar soon after the meeting on Sunday.

“China has progressed on resolving the Rohingya crisis and we need the situation to come to an end,” said Bangladesh’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam.

After repatriation efforts failed twice in 2019, China facilitated a meeting with Bangladesh and Myanmar to find a breakthrough in January 2021.

Negotiations were halted for more than a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Repatriation attempts failed amid the refugee’s lack of trust in the Myanmar government.

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