China Affirms Support for Myanmar On Rakhine Issue

By Htet Naing Zaw 27 September 2017

NAYPYITAW — Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Hong Liang showed his support for the Myanmar government’s handling of the issues in Rakhine State, assuring that China would stand “firmly” by Myanmar on the international stage.

“We hope that the international community will create a good external environment so that Myanmar can solve its problems properly,” said Hong Liang at a reception on Tuesday to mark the 68th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China ahead of an open discussion on Rakhine at the UN Security Council on Thursday.

Myanmar has faced increasing international pressure over government security operations in northern Rakhine State that have left hundreds dead, sent nearly 500,000 self-identifying Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, and been labeled a “text book example of ethnic cleansing,” by the UN.

Myanmar’s UN representative U Hau do Suan, however, insisted at the UN General Assembly on Monday that ethnic cleansing was not taking place against Muslims in Rakhine “in the strongest terms.”

Hong Liang promised to continue providing humanitarian aid for people in Rakhine State, noting the Chinese government provided 200 million kyats for Rakhine State through the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement last week.

China supports cooperation between Myanmar and Bangladesh to solve border problems and sincerely hopes that the Myanmar government will be able to bring harmony, stability and prosperity to societies in Rakhine State, he said.

“Myanmar and China have always maintained bilateral cooperation as well as close cooperation in areas of mutual interest in regional and international arenas including the UN,” Myanmar Vice-President U Nyan Tun said at the reception.

When asked about China’s view on State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s briefing to foreign diplomats last week, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at the ministry’s regular press conference on Sept. 19 that her speech will “help the international community to better know about the situation in Myanmar and understand and support the Myanmar government’s effort to achieve domestic peace and national reconciliation”

“As a friendly neighbor of Myanmar, the Chinese will continue providing necessary assistance for [Myanmar] to uphold internal stability and development,” he said.

Myanmar is economically dependent on China while China also requires Myanmar to expand its influence on the international stage, and the two countries need each other, said U Myo Zaw Aung, member of Lower House International Relations Committee.

“China has its interests not only in Kyaukphyu [of Rakhine State], but also across the country. It has friendly ties with the Myanmar government partly because of those interests. There is a need for a stronger bond between two countries to continue to engage in businesses of great mutual interests,” said U Myo Zaw Aung.

Despite China’s Special Envoy of Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang’s request for China’s direct involvement in solving the Rakhine issue, the Myanmar government replied in April that it would only cooperate with Bangladesh to find a solution.

China has funded schools, hospitals, the renovation of Bagan temples, afforestation, scholarships and eye surgeries for Myanmar people, which reflect the friendship between two countries, said Hong Liang.