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China will always remain beside Bangladesh in its dev journey

Momen says after meeting with Wang Yi

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 8 August, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news
China will always remain beside Bangladesh in its dev journey

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Terming Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Bangladesh ‘politically very significant’, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said the Chinese side assured that they will always remain beside Bangladesh in its development journey and will work together to elevate the existing excellent relationship to a new level.

Briefing journalists after Wang’s departure, he said Bangladesh and China have agreed to work with ‘patience’ to achieve their development goals ignoring ‘provocation and obstruction’ noting that peace and stability are required for further progress of a country.

Momen made it clear that there has been discussion on the Global Development Initiative but no talks on Global Security Initiative (GSI), Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) or new Chinese loans.

The Chinese Foreign Minister had over an hour-long bilateral meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Momen prior to his call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Ganobhaban.

The meeting was followed by signing of four MoUs on disaster management, cultural cooperation, marine science and handing over of the 8th Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge in Pirojpur.

Prior to his arrival in Dhaka on August 6, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying stated that China ‘highly’ values its relationship with Bangladesh. “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.”

In reply to a question, Momen said Bangladesh will further study the proposal regarding the Global Development Initiative (GDI) as it keeps receiving various proposals from its partner countries.

At the meeting, the Bangladesh side sought Chinese efforts at expediting the work of development projects agreed earlier for their timely implementation.

Momen said the two sides also discussed ways to minimise trade gap between the two countries and China has agreed to include more products in the list of duty-free access to the Chinese market from September.

Earlier, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam said they have already duty-free access for 98 percent of items exported to China.

China now provides duty-free facility to 97 percent of items from Bangladesh and it would be increased to 98 percent from September 1.

“The remaining 2 percent... has been important and sensitive. Now they have offered another 1 percent from September 1. It’s a piece of good news for Bangladesh as we have a thriving economy based on exports,” the State Minister said in a separate briefing.

Shahriar Alam said he expects that textile and woven products would be included in the one additional percent of items and that will help boost Bangladesh's export to China.

He said the new tax advantage is likely to include garments, woven and other products that had previously faced some barriers. Bangladesh would get a list from China soon about the products and services that would get duty-free access, he added.

Wang Yi has thanked Bangladesh for reiterating its support for ‘One-China Policy’ while sharing in detail that some countries ‘misunderstand and misinterpret’ them and they need to follow international rules, Shahria Alam told reporters.

"They have their position. We largely know it... Taiwan belongs to China…," said State Minister for Foreign Affairs after the meeting between Wang Yi and Bangladesh's Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen.

In the closed-door meeting, Wang Yi also spoke about China's global development initiative in detail, Shahriar Alam said. "It is up to them [China] how much they would disclose," he said as he was asked what China shared about those policies.

Wang Yi told Momen that all people have equal rights to a good life and China wants to work together with all countries. China wants Bangladesh to be on its side, Shahriar said. "We need joint collaboration for a shared future for all people of the world," Shahriar Alam quoted the Chinese Foreign Minister as saying.

Wang Yi assured Bangladesh of continuing Chinese support for Rohingya repatriation as Momen said that prolonged stay of the Rohingyas here is worsening the law-and-order situation in Bangladesh.

"The Chinese Minister said China is trying to reduce Myanmar's internal challenges. Not only Bangladesh but also other countries are facing problems for this," Alam said. China would work for political solution, which is repatriation, he added.

Earlier, Momen said the Chinese side agreed to issue visas for Bangladeshi students paving their return to China immediately. Currently, around 5000 Bangladeshi students studying in China are waiting to return to the campuses there.

Deputy Ambassador at the Embassy of China Hualong Yan in his verified facebook post said the State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi declared when meeting with Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen that all Bangladeshi students are to return China campus right from today (Aug 7).

Shahriar Alam said China will also start issuing visas and travel permits to the Bangladeshi students in a day or two. Several thousand students were stuck here as China was following Covid restrictions.

After a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Chinese Foreign Minister left Dhaka around 11am.