China, Bangladesh underscore need for resuming tripartite talks on Rohingya repatriation; joint vaccine production

China and Bangladesh have agreed to work towards the repatriation of the Rohingya refugees to the Rakhine state in Myanmar and underscored the need for resuming tripartite talks on the issue, a Bangladesh government statement said

Jul 17, 2021
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China, Bangladesh joint vaccine production

China and Bangladesh have agreed to work towards the repatriation of the Rohingya refugees to the Rakhine state in Myanmar and underscored the need for resuming tripartite talks on the issue, a Bangladesh government statement said. Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K Momen and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, who met on the sidelines of a conference in Tashkent, also discussed Dhaka’s plans for co-production of vaccines.

China, by leveraging its close ties with the then Myanmarese government, had facilitated a tripartite video talks on January 19 this year among the vice foreign ministers of the three countries on repatriating the Rohingya Muslims – now sheltered in Bangladesh – after being forcibly displaced from Rakhine State. 

Last week, the Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said China will continue to serve as a “bridge of communication” and try its best to facilitate early results as Bangladesh sought swift repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar.

“We fully understand the keenness of Bangladesh to start repatriation, and our determination to help the two friendly neighbors resolve this long-standing issue will never change,” Jiming said while speaking at an online symposium organized by the Cosmos Foundation, according to a Dhaka Tribune report.

Bangladesh, which hosts over 1.1 million registered Rohingyas (all Myanmarese nationals forcibly displaced  from their land of origin in Myanmar’s Rakhine area), is now under financial strain, having to spend nearly USD 900 million annually to maintain these refugees.

During the meeting at the Uzbekistan capital, Momen reiterated his request to initiate vaccine co-production in Bangladesh. Wang Yi assured him of the Chinese government’s support on this issue, according to a 

Momen thanked the Chinese government for initiating the six-party Covid consultation and for standing by the people of Bangladesh “at an extremely difficult time by generously sending vaccine doses as gifts and opening the commercial supply line”.

Bangladesh, which ran short of vaccines after India, fighting its own pandemic surge, cut down on exports of its promised Covishield/Astra Zeneca vaccine, has received 2 million doses of its Sinopharm vaccine from China.

Another batch of 5 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine will arrive in Bangladesh by the current month-end or the beginning of August.

The two foreign ministers, who are attending an international conference on the challenges and opportunities of regional connectivity in Central and South Asia in the Uzbekistan capital, also appreciated the exchange of video messages by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The messages were exchanged on the occasion of the joint celebrations of the 100th birth anniversary of Bangladesh founder and first president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence, and the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China.

(SAM)

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