BEIJING – Violent incidents in Burma’s Arakan State are unacceptable and there should be understanding of the Burmese government’s efforts to protect social stability, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Indonesian counterpart, state media said.
More than 400,000 Muslim Rohingya have fled across the border to Bangladesh following a counter-insurgency offensive by Burma’s army in the wake of militant attacks on security forces. U.N. officials have described Burma’s strategy as “ethnic cleansing”.
The remarks by Wang to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on the sidelines of a United Nations meeting in New York on Tuesday, however, appeared to show some sympathy for the difficulties Burma faces quelling the insurgency.
The Rohingya issue has been around for a long time, and it is complex and sensitive, Wang said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
“The urgent task is to ease the tense situation as quickly as possible, avoid innocent people being harmed, prevent the humanitarian crisis spreading, and encouraging and supporting Myanmar and Bangladesh to seek a fundamental resolution via dialogue and consultation,” he said.
China, which has close economic and diplomatic ties with Burma, officially known as Myanmar, is willing to continue playing a constructive role along with the international community, Wang added.
Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday condemned rights abuses in Arakan State and said violators would be punished, but she did not address U.N. accusations of ethnic cleansing, drawing cool international responses and calls for action to help minority Muslim Rohingya.
Western diplomats and aid officials, hoping for an unequivocal condemnation of violence and hate speech, welcomed the tone of the Nobel Peace laureate’s message, but some doubted if she had done enough to deflect global criticism.