PM’s China visit to feature Rohingya crisis: Momen
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said Rohingya crisis will top the agenda of discussions during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s five-day official visit to China from July 2 to 6 when Dhaka will sign eight instruments with Beijing.
“The Rohingya issue will come up as a major topic during our Prime Minister’s visit … we do believe, after that, Beijing will take a ‘proactive role’ in resolving the crisis (Rohingya repatriation),” he told a press briefing at the Foreign Ministry on Friday.
He said the Bangladesh premier is visiting China at an invitation of her Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang. She will join the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting and hold bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jingping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
During the meetings with top Chinese leaders, the foreign minister said, Dhaka will raise a strong demand so that China creates pressure on Myanmar for taking back its nationals from Bangladesh.
Momen said Dhaka has planned to explain to China that the Rohingya crisis could eventually spread pockets of radicalism throughout the entire region.
“We will tell them (China) if peace and security don’t prevail in the region, the huge Chinese investment in Myanmar as well as in Bangladesh will be threatened,” he said.
Replying to a query whether there is any indirect Chinese instigation in favour of Myanmar regarding the crisis, the foreign minister said, “We don’t believe there is any Chinese instigation at all.”
Momen said China is sincere to help Bangladesh in tackling the crisis. “China always agrees about repatriation of Rohingyas and advised us to resolve the problem through bilateral discussions with Myanmar,” he added.
The foreign minister said Bangladesh has been engaged bilaterally with Myanmar and “Bangladesh has no dispute with China in this regard (Rohingya crisis)….. China always told us that they agree with us (Bangladesh) that Myanmar should take back their people (Rohingya).”
“There is a change in mindset … the countries which had opposed it (Rohingya crisis) earlier like China and Russia even India are now on our side,” he said.
Terming Sheikh Hasina ‘one of the greatest diplomats’, the foreign minister said: “Our Prime Minister is now one of the major statesmen in the world and she developed a good relation with the Chinese President.”
So, Momen said, “We do believe, when our Prime Minister will tell the Chinese President, Beijing will take a proactive action so that Rohingyas go back to their homeland (Myanmar),”
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, termed as “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” by the UN.
Apart from the Rohingya issue, the foreign minister said, the premier’s visit will help further strengthen bilateral relations as well as trade and investment cooperation between Bangladesh and China.
During the visit, he said, Bangladesh and China will ink eight instruments in different sectors ranging from economic, power and ICT to tourism.