DHAKA, Bangladesh - On Sunday, China pledged to assist Bangladesh in repatriating thousands of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Dhaka to discuss the issue.
More than a million Rohingya Muslim refugees live in Bangladeshi camps after fleeing persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, primarily in 2017 when Aung San Suu Kyi was in power.
According to Momen, Beijing has already built approximately 3,000 houses in Myanmar's Rakhine state for prospective Rohingya returnees.
He said China "will also arrange initial food assistance" for the repatriated refugees. "We must thank China for agreeing to do that," said the foreign minister.
"Bangladesh requires Chinese assistance to resolve the Rohingya crisis."
In November 2017, China brokered an agreement with Myanmar to repatriate approximately 700,000 Rohingya Muslims. In 2019, efforts were made again to return the refugees.
However, the Rohingya refugees rejected the move, fearing a resurgence of the violence that forced them to flee. The military coup in Myanmar last year only heightened these concerns.
Bangladesh is attempting to catalog the refugees' identities. According to officials, it has sent biometric data of over 800,000 refugees living in camps in the south-eastern district of Cox's Bazar to Myanmar.