China’s foreign minister meets with Myanmar’s leaders

By on November 19, 2017


FILE: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (Photo By Foreign and Commonwealth Office [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/) or CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)])
FILE: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (Photo By Foreign and Commonwealth Office [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/) or CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)])
NAYPYITAW, Myanmar — China’s foreign minister met with Myanmar’s top leaders on Sunday during a visit to the country, a day after discussing the Rohingya refugee crisis with Bangladesh’s prime minister.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state for neighbouring Bangladesh since late August, when the military launched what it called “clearance operations” in response to insurgent attacks. The refugees say soldiers and Buddhist mobs attacked them and burned their villages to force them to flee.

The campaign has been described by the United Nations as “ethnic cleansing” and drawn widespread outrage from the international community. China, a long-standing friend of Myanmar during the Southeast Asian country’s isolation from the West, has been helping shield Myanmar from the criticism.

On Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Dhaka, where he met with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, that the Rohingya crisis should be solved bilaterally between Myanmar and Bangladesh, and should not involve outside parties.

As well as meeting President Htin Kyaw in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw, Wang met with Myanmar’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and the powerful commander-in-chief of the military, Min Aung Hlaing.

“China and Myanmar are very much different in size and power, but when it comes to mutual understanding, the two countries are friends with the same values,” Suu Kyi said at a news conference with Wang Yi.

On Monday, Myanmar hosts a meeting of Asian and European ministers at which the Rohingya issue is expected to be prominent.