Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming on Sunday said China, with its traditional friendship with Bangladesh and Myanmar, will do whatever they can to help alleviate the Rohingya situation and push forward early repatriation.
"The most important (thing is) China acts. China has been keen to conduct various activities to push forward repatriation," he said.
The Ambassador was addressing a seminar titled "Finding way to Peaceful Repatriation of Rohingyas" at the Jatiya Press Club.
The Ambassador said during the third informal meeting between the three countries in New York this September, three important were taken on the Rohingya issue.
First, he said, it is the political will and consensus of the three sides that repatriation must be started as early as possible.
Second, the envoy said, a Joint Working Mechanism will be established to delve into the technical issues of repatriation under the political guidance of three Foreign Ministers.
And dhird, he said, promoting development is the fundamental solution, and border cooperation between China, Bangladesh and Myanmar should be strengthened to create an environment conducive to stability and development in the area.
The Ambassador said State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi also announced that China would deploy a medical team and encourage charity organizations to Cox's Bazar to help the people in need.
To implement the consensuses, Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh, Director General (DG-Myanmar Wing) of Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Ambassador himself have been staying in touch with each other in the past two months.
Through frank and detailed conversation, he said, have found a lot of common ground including a) 3450 Rohingyas who have been verified by Bangladesh and Myanmar, the Hindu Rohingyas and those living along the "zero-line" are prioritized groups for early repatriation; b) Myanmar has agreed to engage more with the displaced people to build trust by talking face-to-face with them and to change the wording on NVC to erase misunderstanding and c) Bangladesh has agreed to allocate more resources and manpower to Cox's Bazar and to adopt a more pragmatic approach to repatriation.
The Ambassador said China plays a unique role in finding a sustainable solution to the Rohingya issue. "To put it in one sentence, on the Rohingya issue, China concerns, China contributes, and China acts."
About China concerns, he said there is no doubt that China shares Bangladesh's concerns over the Rohingya issue.
During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to China in July this year, President Xi mentioned to her that China appreciates Bangladesh's generosity to shelter the displaced people, and will support all concerned parties to handle the issue properly through friendly negotiation.
The Ambassador said China will not favor one side over the other. "China is trying to persuade Myanmar all the time that the eventual solution of the Rohingya issue will be beneficial to both countries, and I believe that the Rohingya issue will be settled in the end."
Back in November 2017, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Bangladesh and Myanmar to mediate between the two neighbors and came up with the suggestion of a three-phased solution, namely "cessation of violence, repatriation, and development", which serves as an important road map for the repatriation process.
In June and September 2018 and in September this year, Sate Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired three rounds of informal meetings among China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, charting the course of action more clearly each time than before.
Ambassador Sun Guoxiang Special Envoy for Asian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry has been doing "shuttle diplomacy" between Bangladesh and Myanmar. During the past two years, Ambassador Sun has visited two countries a dozen of times, conveying messages, bridging gaps and building consensuses among different stakeholders, in the hope of finding a way out for the Rohingya crisis and the Rakhine State issue at large.
Explaining how China contributes, the envoy said China has been contributing to solving the Rohingya issue in many ways.
On September 27 and 28, 2017, one month right after the violent incident in Rakhine State that triggered the huge influx of Rohingyas into Bangladesh, two Chinese cargo flights carrying 2000 emergency tents and 3000 blankets arrived at Chattogram International Airport in support of Bangladesh to accommodate the temporarily displaced Roghingyas.
During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to China in July this year, China and Bangladesh signed an agreement based on which China would provide 2500 metric tonnes of rice to help the Rohingyas, said the Ambassador.
He said they have been working on recently is to send a medical team to Cox's Bazar.
After thorough field investigation, they found that while the public health situation in the camps was as dire as it had been described by various sources, the health care services host communities could access had also been stretched to an alarming extent due to the prolonged stay of the displaced people.
He said the medical team will focus on the host community as well as the Rohingyas. "Yesterday the team already set off to Cox's Bazar, while in Dhaka we are waiting for the completion of necessary government procedures for the team to be fully functional."
The Ambassador who arrived in Bangladesh in late August this year said the Rohingya issue has become one of the priorities of his work during his not-too-long stay here.
From September 15 to 17, he said, he went to Cox's Bazar and visited the camps in Ukhia and Teknaf and one located on the "zero-line" of Bangladesh and Myanmar border.
To sum up, the Ambassador said, in the 1970s and 1990s, the same crisis happened to Bangladesh and Myanmar and the two countries were able to resolve it through bilateral approaches.
"This time, the crisis reached an unprecedented scale and gained much wider international coverage," he said.
On the one hand, more attention from the international community has helped Bangladesh to cope with this crisis while on the other hand, some actors with hidden purposes are trying to make the muddy water even muddier, the Ambassador said.
Human Rights Commission Kazi Reazul Haque, among others, spoke at the seminar organised by English daily Bangladesh Post.