China will continue supporting Bangladesh’s various economic development and infrastructure projects, told Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi to Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque at a meeting in Beijing today. Shahidul Haque is leading a 10 member Bangladesh delegation to the 11th Bangladesh- China Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) at Beijing between 8-9 November 2018.
The 11th Bangladesh-China FOC was held in Beijing on the 8th of November. The Chinese side was led by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Mr. Kong Xuanyou. Bangladesh Ambassador to China Fazlul Karim and senior representatives from different Ministries and Department of the Government of China and Bangladesh, including the Home Ministry, Ministries of Agriculture, Railways, Commerce, Industry, Economic Relations Division (ERD), power Division and the ICT Division participated at the Consultation.
The FOC reviewed various global, regional and sub-regional issues of mutual interests. Issues of bilateral cooperation were also discussed at length. It took stock of the implementation status of decisions taken in the past at different levels of the two governments. A host of new and emerging issues also came up for discussion. The FOC specially focussed on progress of materialising the agreements reached during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Bangladesh in October 2016 and during the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to China in June 2014. The FOC outlined the future course of action to carry forward the ongoing works to translate into action the commitments reached at the leaders’ level.
The Vice Minister of China stated that Bangladesh is an important country for China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Foreign Secretary underscored Bangladesh’s support for the regional initiatives on connectivity, energy cooperation and economic integration under SAARC, BIMSTEC, BBIN, BCIM amongst other formations. Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque noted that Bangladesh is engaged with all major economic powers of the world for realising its legitimate development aspirations, and connectivity across all major fields of economic partnerships. He briefed the Chinese side about the Vision 2021 and the Vision 2041 outlined by the Hon. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and sought continued Chinese support for the realisation of the Vision.
Consensus was reached at the FOC to expedite the approval procedure for Chinese loans for speedy implementation of infrastructure projects in Bangladesh. Enhancing trade and investment promotion measures, technical cooperation in agriculture, attracting investments for the Hi-tech parks in Bangladesh, Production Capacity Cooperation, cooperation in Blue Economy, power and energy cooperation, cooperation on climate change issues, and visa facilitation measures, amongst others, came up during the consultation.
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque requested Vice Minister Kong for ‘positive actions’ to respond to Bangladesh’s concerns over the trade imbalance. Foreign Secretary requested the Chinese side to substantially increase import of Bangladeshi products, including Jute and jute goods, pharmaceuticals, fruits and vegetables, and other non-traditional items for bridging the trade gap. Foreign Secretary Haque also stressed on the need for enhanced Chinese investment in the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and in the Hi-Tech parks. The Chinese Vice Minister assured that necessary steps would be instituted to support Bangladesh’s trade interests. Decision was taken at the FOC to hold the first-ever consular consultation between the two countries in Dhaka at an early date.
The Chinese Vice Minister reiterated his country’s commitment to play a positive and constructive role in resolving the Rohingya crisis and appreciated the staunch political will of Bangladesh to resolve the crisis peacefully. Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque noted that the crisis originated as a conflict between the Myanmar Government and its own people and stressed that Myanmar should start taking back its people without further delay as per the agreement reached during the recently concluded Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting. In this context, he requested the Chinese side t do its utmost to encourage Myanmar to create a conducive environment for the speedier return of the displaced Rohingyas to their homeland in Rakhine.
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, along with his delegation, visited the Headquarters of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) at Xicheng District, and met D.J. Pandian, Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer of AIIB. High-level officials of the investment and other Wings of the Bank were present at the meeting.