BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Myanmar and Bangladesh from this weekend, his ministry said on Thursday, amid a crisis over Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since late August, driven out by a military counter-insurgency clearance operation in Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
A top U.N. official has described the military’s actions as a textbook case of “ethnic cleansing”. Myanmar rejects accusations of rights abuses.
China has expressed support for what it calls the Myanmar government’s efforts to protect stability.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that Wang would go to Bangladesh and Myanmar this weekend where he would meet his counterparts and exchange views on bilateral ties and issues of mutual regional concern.
On Monday and Tuesday, Wang would attend a meeting of Asian and European foreign ministers in the Myanmar capital of Naypyitaw, Geng added.
He did not say whether Wang would discuss the Rohingya issue.
China and Myanmar have for years maintained close economic and diplomatic relations.
The United States and other Western countries have become more engaged with Myanmar in recent years, since it began a transition to civilian government after nearly 50 years of military rule.
International concern over the Rohingya situation has grown.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called during a visit to Myanmar on Wednesday for a credible investigation into reports of human rights abuses against the Rohingya committed by Myanmar’s security forces.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)
Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters.