China pushes a peace plan for Rohingya refugee crisis


On November 19, China proposed a three-step process for resolving the refugee crisis of 600,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Reuters summarizes:

  • Step one: Establish a cease-fire, which China’s foreign ministry says has “already basically been achieved.”
  • Step two: Have Myanmar and Bangladesh talk to “find a workable solution for the return of refugees.”
  • Step three: “To work toward a long-term solution based on poverty alleviation.”

India Today quotes a foreign ministry spokesperson as saying, “This initiative was approved in Bangladesh and also won approval in Myanmar,” but states that he was evasive when pressed as to whether China was ready to actively mediate in the conflict. Instead, the spokesperson fell back on Beijing’s usual line that it supports “non-interference in international affairs.”

What China appears to be actively pursuing in the region, the SCMP reports, is business opportunities: Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi 王毅 visited Myanmar on November 20 and proposed an “economic corridor” between the two countries as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, without providing further details.