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China approves more new dev projects: Envoy

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 14 March, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming has said the government of China has approved more new development projects in Bangladesh and a lot more are awaiting to be finalised soon.

Addressing an in-person press event titled "Spring Dialogue with China" at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, he said Bangladesh government has proposed some new big projects in recent years and the Chinese government has already given approval to several of them.

He further said a lot of new projects will be coming, but he declined to announce the names of the projects as those are on way to be finalised soon.

In this context, Ambassador Li cited that another Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge project is under discussion between the two sides. The upcoming friendship bridge project will also be a gift from the government of China to the people of Bangladesh as the previous eight," he added.

Responding to another question, he said China’s share in Bangladesh’s overseas loan portfolio is only around 5 per cent and that is why the notion that Bangladesh might fall into Chinese debt trap is totally illogical.  

He said that Chinese investment in Bangladesh has increased by 300 per cent and it will further increase after the beginning of the operation of the Chinese Economic Zone in Chattogram. This zone awaits the approval from the Bangladesh government and he hoped that very soon it will be approved.

Asked about the delay in implementation of Chinese projects in Bangladesh, he replied the Covid-19 pandemic and land acquisition were the main problems behind this.

He also pointed out that the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) does not lose the momentum as off late 10 more new countries joined the BRI.

He informed that Bangladeshi students, who studies in China soon will be able to return to China under a special pilot project. “Only 10 countries are included in the pilot programme and Bangladesh is one of these.”

Despite the pandemic, issuing visas to businessmen of Bangladesh was not stopped, he mentioned.

The Chinese envoy in his press event highlighted a number of vital issues, including Ukraine, Taiwan, Xinjiang and Ughur, and explained the details as well as replied to the Western propagandas. 

He also shared his thoughts on issues concerning Bangladesh -- China relations, Rohingya crisis, infrastructure development projects in Bangladesh, bilateral trade and Chinese investment in Bangladesh, QUAD and Indo-Pacific Strategy etc.

Editor of The Business Standard Inam Ahmed moderated the event.

In response to a question, Li Jiming said China believes that Bangladesh will not join the Quad alliance as the country has said it will not join any military alliance.

Although the US and its allies said that Quad is not against China, practically it is a military alliance targeting China, he said and hoped that Bangladesh will take a wise decision about joining such an alliance.

In this regard, he cited the Foreign Policy of Bangladesh, which is “friendship to all, malice to none”.

On the Ukraine issue, the Chinese Ambassador said Beijing is not taking a side of Russia rather China wants a peaceful solution to the ongoing Ukraine crisis through dialogue.

He highlighted that China maintains that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected and protected and the purpose and principles of the UN Charter abided by in real earnest.

“The position of China is consistent and clear-cut and applies equally to the Ukraine issue,” he said, adding that Russia and Ukraine are friends of China.

China has suggested a cool-headed negotiation refraining from an emotional attitude regarding the crisis, he said.

In this regard, the Chinese envoy referred to Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen's statement that Bangladesh wants peace, which China exactly wants the same.

Asked about to make comment to a recent news report carried by Nikkei Asia, titled "India wary of China setting up Bangladesh missile maintenance hub”, Ambassador Li said China would not build any military base on any foreign land, including Bangladesh.

On another question about the Rohingya issue, the Chinese Ambassador said some progresses have been made in commencing the repatriation of the forcibly displaced people to Rakhine as the current Myanmar authority has shown some 'constructive' attitude regarding the issue.

China has been taking relentless efforts to ensure safe, voluntary and dignified repatriation of the displaced people since the beginning of the crisis but it is true that so far no visible progress can be made regarding repatriation, he noted.

Not detailing, the envoy said China that has been mediating between Bangladesh and Myanmar to commence safe and dignified volunteer repatriation of Rohingyas is expecting to see some progress in resolving the crisis this year.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully-displaced Rohingya nationals of Myanmar.

Since the brutal military crackdown in Rakhine in August 2017, which the UN called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" and "genocide" by the other rights groups.

Replying to a question he said the pandemic and land acquisition were the main problems behind the delay in the implementation of the China-funded projects in Bangladesh.

He also pointed out that the Chinese Belt and Road programme does not lose momentum as off late 10 more new countries had joined the programme.

He informed that the students who study in China will be able to return to China soon under a special pilot project. Only 10 countries, including Bangladesh, are included in the pilot programme.