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China: Sanctions, criticism won’t help settle Rohingya issue

August 28, 2018

FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, file photo, Rohingya women cry as they shout slogans during a protest rally to commemorate the first anniversary of Myanmar army's crackdown which lead to a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh, at Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. China is denying it blocked action by the United Nations on the issue of Muslim Rohingya refugees but says it doesn't believe sanctions or criticism of Myanmar's government will help resolve the crisis. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)

BEIJING (AP) — China said Tuesday it isn’t blocking action by the United Nations on the issue of Muslim Rohingya refugees, but that it doesn’t believe sanctions or criticism of Myanmar’s government will help resolve the crisis.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying’s comments came a day after investigators working for the U.N.’s top human rights body said Myanmar military leaders should be prosecuted for genocide against the Rohingya.

China is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council with veto power over whether the issue will be brought before the International Criminal Court. It has been reticent about condemning Myanmar’s government during the crisis.

Hua said China believes the Rohingya issue has a complex historical, religious and ethnic background and China wishes to play a “constructive role” in finding a proper solution.

“You said China blocked the relevant U.N. discussions or actions; I cannot agree with you,” Hua said in response to a question at a daily ministry briefing. “We don’t think unilateral sanctions or criticisms would help with settling the issue.”

More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled into neighboring Bangladesh over the past year to escape a Myanmar government crackdown that followed rebel attacks on security and police posts.

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