Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived here on Saturday afternoon to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues with Bangladesh leadership with a hope to “elevate” the relationship with Bangladesh to a “new level”.
Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque received the Chinese Foreign Minister upon his arrival at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 5:18 pm, a senior official told UNB.
From the airport, Minister Wang went to Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi-32 and paid tribute to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing a wreath at his mural. He signed visitors’ book there.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam received the Chinese Foreign Minister at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum. Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader is scheduled to host a dinner in honour of the Chinese Foreign Minister on Saturday evening.
“We hope the visit will provide an opportunity to further implement the common understandings between the leaders of the two countries, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and elevate the relationship to a new level,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying.
She said they “highly value” their relationship with Bangladesh and the Chinese Foreign Minister is visiting Bangladesh at the invitation of Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen.
Minister Wang is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Sunday morning apart from holding a bilateral meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Momen the same day.
“They will have an exchange of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of shared interest,” said Chinese Spokesperson Chunying.
Bangladesh will likely deepen both its economic links with China and its security links with India in the long term in order to avoid becoming a full client state of either, according to geopolitical risk analysis site - Foreign Brief.
Potential topics include the expansion of Chinese foreign direct investment and the handover of the 8th Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge to the Bangladeshi government, it said. Almost a third of Bangladesh’s imports come from China, and China has promised to invest $40 billion into joint ventures and infrastructure projects through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it added.
“This is going to be different from other bilateral visits. I can’t tell you in detail at this moment as many things are still under last minute discussion,” another official familiar with the development told UNB, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Foreign Minister Momen is expected to return home Saturday night from Cambodia after attending the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting.
Talking to reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday, Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh and China are likely to sign multiple MoUs and agreements during Wang’s visit.
He said the list is not finalised yet and it can be five-seven – new and renewal including cooperation on the disaster management and cultural exchange fronts.
Shahriar assured that the planned MoUs and agreements will be aligned with Bangladesh’s cultural, social and economic policy though the list is not finalised yet.
The state minister said the relationship between Bangladesh and China is “deep and wide” and the two countries will discuss areas of future cooperation.
Responding to a question, the state minister said Bangladesh will seek a stronger role from the Chinese government for early repatriation of the Rohingyas.
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and there is a tripartite mechanism – Bangladesh, Myanmar and China – to discuss and resolve the crisis.
In January 2017, Wang had an hour-long stopover in Dhaka. This time, he is coming for a longer period.
The Chinese Foreign Minister is likely to leave Dhaka for Mongolia soon after his meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The visit is taking place amid growing geopolitical tensions with impact on developing countries in the region while experts suggest Bangladesh to ensure a strategic balance amid these tensions.
Earlier, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said taking a new loan from China will not be a part of their agenda during the Chinese foreign minister's Bangladesh visit.
"This time, the issue of taking loan afresh isn't there at least," he said on Wednesday when a reporter wanted to know whether Bangladesh is going to take a loan from China again.
Asked what message this visit carries amid the crisis in various parts of the world, the foreign secretary said it will be known once the Chinese foreign minister comes.
He reiterated that the visit is part of the Chinese side's routine visit to the region and also it is an opportunity to review the existing engagements between the two countries.
Wang is a member of the 19th CPC Central Committee, State Councilor and a member of the Leading CPC Members Group of the State Council.
From Dhaka, the Chinese Foreign Minister will visit Mongolia at the invitation of Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh.