• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Taro Kono is set to visit Myanmar next month to hold talks with leader Aung San Suu Kyi and express concerns over the Rohingya crisis, government sources said Saturday.

During his first trip to Myanmar as foreign minister, Kono will also inspect refugee camps set up for Rohingya refugees along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border.

Myanmar has been accused by the United Nations and the international community of human rights violations allegedly committed by its security forces against Rohingya Muslims in the western state of Rakhine, causing more than 600,000 of them to flee to neighboring Bangladesh in recent months.

Given the Myanmar market’s potential growth, however, Tokyo does not want to sour its relationship with the country. The focus will be on whether Kono will be able to play the role of mediator between Myanmar and the international community, the sources said.

Kono is expected to tell Suu Kyi during their talks in the capital, Naypyitaw, in mid-January that the crisis needs to be defused and that Japan is ready to support Rakhine, where residents have not received sufficient aid supplies.

The foreign minister will also ask Myanmar’s leader to steadily carry out sanctions against North Korea based on resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council in September in response to the North’s sixth nuclear test that call on U.N. members not to accept North Korean laborers. Myanmar has diplomatic ties and economic links with Pyongyang.

Following his visit to Myanmar, Kono will travel to the United Arab Emirates to attend a session of the International Renewable Energy Agency. He will then fly to Vancouver to attend a meeting hosted by the United States and Canada to discuss responses to North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile threats.

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