China wants to strongly engage with Bangladesh to take forward its One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative and build BCIM (Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation) economic corridor ushering in a prosperous future for people of the region and beyond.
“Our two governments have signed an agreement on the Belt and Road cooperation. China is ready to work with Bangladesh to promote the building of the Belt and Road including building of BCIM economic corridor,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said while briefing a select group of media including UNB at the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka on Saturday evening.
He said they believe that such cooperation will open up new prospects for the development of Bangladesh.
“We believe it’ll (BCIM economic corridor) add new dimension to our strategic cooperative partnership and also provides new imperatives to development of Bangladesh, said the Chinese Foreign Minister."
The Chinese Minister left Dhaka on Sunday wrapping up a two-day visit to Bangladesh.
China to continue assistances to Bangladesh:
He said as a good friend of Bangladesh, China will continue to provide assistances to Bangladesh within its capacity and in light of the needs of the country.
Noting that current priority for Bangladesh is to speed up development to deliver a better life of its people and turn into a middle-income country by 2021, he said “China fully supports your (Bangladesh’s) efforts and will continue to make our contributions.”
Wang Yi said China has been helping with Bangladesh in building many bridges and actively participating in the big infrastructure projects to make transportation and local people’s lives easier and more convenient.
“We hope this assistance could help meet the development needs of Bangladesh,” the Chinese Foreign Minister said.
Bangladesh biggest recipient of Chinese concessional facilities:
Noting that actually Bangladesh is already the biggest recipient of Chinese concessional financial facilities, he said actually this year alone, the concessional facilities China has extended to Bangladesh already reached five billion US dollar.The number could be even higher if we take into account other major projects being discussed, he added.
He said they have heard some narratives now-a-days saying that China’s loans and concessional facilities have put heavy debt burden on other developing countries. “I believe Bangladesh will disapprove of such narrative because all this loans have been provided in light of the actual needs.”
Noting that he came to Bangladesh mainly for the two objectives, Wang Yi said the first objectives is to follow the important outcome of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Bangladesh in October last year and the progress of the China-Bangladesh Cooperation, while the second one is to exchange views with Bangladeshi side on Rohingya issue and to discuss how it can effectively be resolved.
Root causes of Rohingya issue need to be addressed:
“On the Rohingya issue, I’ve listened face to face briefing from Bangladeshi side. So now I have the full picture about the actual situation. Indeed problems coming up inside Myanmar has affected Bangladesh putting earnest burdens. Bangladesh has overcome many difficulties to provide humanitarian assistances to the displaced persons coming to Bangladesh,” he said.
China has acted promptly to provide emergency assistance to Bangladesh. ”We’re willing to provide additional assistances to Bangladesh in light of actual needs.”
“China hopes the issue could be properly resolved between Bangladesh and Myanmar through friendly consultation and China is also willing to play own role for this to happen,” he said adding that both Bangladesh and Myanmar are close neighbours and good friends for China.
The Chinese minister said China called upon Myanmar to have early consultation with Bangladesh to seek a solution mutually acceptable between Bangladesh and Myanmar. “The situation has been notably improved.”
He said China supports Bangladesh and Myanmar in exploring a proper solution of the problems through bilateral channel.
Wang Yi said, “Two countries are likely to sign an agreement on repatriation. We welcome and we support this development. China also welcomes the international community to pay attention to the progress made in addressing this issue.”
“The United Nations including the UN Security Council should create a better environment and enabling conditions for solution of this issue. China as a mutual good friend of both Bangladesh and Myanmar will do the best to play a constructive role,”
Talking about Chinese attitude at the UN Security Council discussion on Rohingya issue, the Chinese Minister said actions of the UN Security Council must help Bangladesh and Myanmar to address the issue through bilateral consultation as quickly as possible, and should help the two countries to address the issue through peaceful means.
“The UN Security Council action should not complicate the situation and make things more difficult to resolve (the problem),” he said adding that they believe that Bangladeshi friends will understand Chinese position.
He said they believe that Bangladesh and Myanmar will be able to further improve the situation through mutual consultations and ultimately find a fundamental solution.
“As a mutual friend of Bangladesh and Myanmar, China is willing to further provide facilitations and help if it is necessary,” he added.
“I want to say in this issue China has no self-interest at all. We’ll not be partial to either of two parties Bangladesh and Myanmar,” he said adding that his country will judge things based completely on merit.
The minister said the Rohingya issue has a long history. It is involved complex historical ethnical and religious factors. “Therefore, the solution of the issue must address not only current needs but also long-term needs. It requires a comprehensive approach that addresses symptoms and root causes.”
Talking about his meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, the Chinese Foreign Minister said, “Our two sides have agreed - we shall continue to firmly support to each other on issues of co-interest and major concerns effectively.”
“We agreed to speed up cooperation on Belt and Road development actively advanced to build of BCIM economic corridor,” he said adding that they also explored maritime cooperation and cooperation in other agreed new areas.
Wang Yi said China will continue to encourage and support Chinese enterprises actively participating in Bangladesh’s development.
Wang Yi’s Dhaka visit comes hard on the heels of China’s opposition to a UN resolution on Thursday for ending the military operations by Myanmar that led to "the systematic violation and abuse of human rights" against the country's Rohingya community.