Chinese President Xi Jinping has said he stands ready to work with Bangladesh to better align the two countries’ strategies and jointly promote the construction of the Belt and Road to take the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation to new heights, reports Xinhua.
He made the remarks in an exchange of congratulatory messages with his Bangladesh counterpart Mohammad Abdul Hamid as the two countries celebrated the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties yesterday.
Xi said the China-Bangladesh friendship has a long history and remains ever new over time.
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 45 years ago, the two countries have always respected each other and treated each other as equals, enhanced political mutual trust and deepened mutually beneficial cooperation that brings tangible benefits to the two peoples, he noted.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, China and Bangladesh have stuck together through thick and thin, helped each other and fought against the pandemic side by side, writing a new chapter of bilateral friendship, the Chinese president added.
This year, China has also offered zero-tariff treatment to 97 percent of Bangladesh’s exports by adding 5,161 more items to the existing list of 3,095 duty-free products.
With some $26 billion Chinese investments and $38 billion funding commitments, Bangladesh is one of the largest recipients of China’s massive infrastructure project.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), President Xi’s top priority initiative, aims firm up China’s global influence through rail, maritime and road links from Asia to Europe and Africa in a revival of ancient Silk Road trading routes.
Bangladesh has joined BRI, saying it is ready to be part of any initiative that is aimed at promoting economy, connectivity, peace and sustainability.
India, which has yet to join it, and its ally US, however, are critical of the initiative. They said Chinese financing of projects lead to debt-trap of the recipients. Dhaka maintains that it is careful and makes sure that the country does not fall into debt trap.
For his part, President Hamid in the message said the Bangladesh-China relationship is developing rapidly and has covered cooperation in key areas, to which Bangladesh attaches great importance.
He expressed his deep appreciation for China’s continuous support for Bangladesh in its socio-economic development progress, adding that he believes the close and friendly relationship between the two countries will continue to deepen in the future.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also exchanged congratulatory messages with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina.
In his message, Li said China is willing to deepen practical cooperation with Bangladesh in various fields and promote the steady and sustainable development of the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation to better benefit the two countries and their people.
For her part, Hasina said the strategic partnership of cooperation between Bangladesh and China has been developed from the two countries’ time-tested friendship and cooperation.
The strengthened Bangladesh-China cooperation has unleashed enormous potential in maintaining peace, security and stability in the region and even around the world, she said.