POST TIME: 15 October, 2016 10:29:21 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 15 October, 2016 11:42:20 AM
A milestone in Sino-Bangla ties
Xi, Hasina agree to elevate existing partnership to ‘strategic’ level

A milestone in Sino-Bangla ties

Bangladesh and China, one of the economic and military superpowers of the world, have agreed to elevate the existing ‘closer comprehensive partnership’ to ‘strategic’ level, which is expected to widen, broaden and deepen the engagements between Dhaka and Beijing.
Dhaka and Beijing have also signed 27 agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to enhance cooperation in areas including trade and investment, infrastructure, power, maritime, capacity and skill development.
However, the financial worth of these deals was not disclosed.    
“Today, we have elevated our ‘Closer Comprehensive Partnership of Cooperation’ to a ‘Strategic Partnership of Cooperation’,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in a joint  press statement after holding official talks with visiting
Chinese President Xi Jinping, signing of 27 agreements and MoUs and unveiling of plaques of six projects at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) yesterday.
“Under this Strategic Partnership we have agreed to work towards socio-economic advancement of people of our two countries,” she said.
When asked what it means for Bangladesh, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, who briefed journalists after the meeting, said that the existing depth of engagements in terms of socio-economic field, investment and collaboration will be deeper, closer and more substantive.
Asked if it will include defence cooperation, he said, “For the time being, we are not talking about that side. We are talking about what is needed for the development of peoples of the two countries.”
In the joint statement, the Prime Minister also said, “Our efforts today are aimed at attaining goals of becoming a knowledge-based middle-income country by 2021 and eventually a developed country by 2041.”
She said that she had ‘very fruitful discussions with President Xi on bilateral, regional and international issues of common interest.
“We have reiterated our commitment to support the ‘One China Policy’. We have agreed to work closely and support on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” she added.
Hasina further said, “We reached consensus on cooperation in key areas, such as, trade and investment, infrastructure, industry, power and energy, information and communication technology and agriculture.”
On the signing of the agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoU), she said that these instruments cover, among others, areas such as trade and investment, blue economy, BCIM-EC, roads and bridges, railways, power, maritime, ICT, industrial production, capacity building and skill development.
About unveiling of plaque of six projects, the Prime Minister said, “The signing of these instruments and the unveiling of these plaques create a platform for our two countries to cooperate at a higher plane.”
The Chinese President, in his statement, said that the Dhaka-Beijing relationship is now at ‘new historical’ turning point and heading towards a ‘promising future’. “China-Bangladesh cooperation will deliver more fruits for the people of the two countries, and will contribute to peace and stability and development in the region,” he said.
Echoing his Bangladeshi counterpart, the Chinese President also mentioned the elevation of the relationship to ‘Closer Comprehensive Partnership of Cooperation’ to a ‘Strategic Partnership of Cooperation’.
“China is ready to work with Bangladesh as friends and partners with trust and support to each other,” he said.
The Chinese leader also said that both the countries reached an agreement to increase high-level exchanges and strategic communication so that the bilateral relations move to even higher level.
Describing his meeting with Prime Minister Hasina as ‘warm and productive’, he said that they agreed on a number of important issues.
“We’ve agreed to jointly advance road and belt initiative,” he said.
Xi said that they have also agreed to initiate a joint feasibility study on Bangladesh-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to strengthen trade and investment cooperation between the two nations.
He stressed the need for enhancing ‘practical cooperation’ in key areas like infrastructure, production capacity, energy and power, transportation, ICT, and agriculture.
The President voiced Beijing’s continued support in providing capital, technical and human resources to carry out close cooperation on the projects to support Bangladesh’s socio-economic development.
The two countries also agreed to designate the year 2017 as the year of ‘exchange and friendship’ during which colourful events will be held to carry forward the friendship.
Describing the visit as historic, Foreign Secretary Haque said, “The Chinese President said that China has many things to learn from Bangladesh as it has a good history in women empowerment.” Both the countries have also agreed to work together in achieving the 2030 agenda of sustainable development goals, he added.
23-point joint statement issued
Bangladesh and China have agreed to maintain military cooperation and exchanges at various levels, according to the joint statement issued yesterday on the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
 They also agreed to deepen cooperation in areas such as personnel training, equipment and technology and UN peacekeeping missions, said the 23-point statement titled ‘Establishing Strategic Partnership of Cooperation’.
 The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping has ushered the traditional friendship between China and Bangladesh into a new era and bears significant historical importance to the bilateral relationship, it said.
 The two sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The Chinese side conveyed its support for Bangladesh’s efforts in combating terrorism and maintaining national security and stability and expressed its readiness to cooperate through sharing of information, capacity building and training with Bangladesh.
 Dhaka and Beijing agreed to explore the possibility of establishing a dialogue mechanism on countering terrorism.
 The two sides reiterated their adherence to the important principles for developing China-Bangladesh relations, including developing bilateral relations on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence, respecting and supporting each other in choosing the paths of development according to the national conditions, and respecting and supporting each other’s core interest and major concerns.
 China appreciates Bangladesh's commitment to one China policy and its support for China on issues related to China's core interests and China's efforts to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Bangladesh is appreciative of China’s initiative of the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” (the Belt and Road Initiative), believing it will bring important opportunities for Bangladesh’s goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2021 and a Developed Country by 2041.
 The two sides signed documents of cooperation in areas such as: cooperation in  the Belt and Road Initiative, industrial capacity building, power and energy, information and communication technology, investment, maritime cooperation, disaster management and cultural and people-to-people contacts.
 Both sides agreed to enhance the alignment of the development strategies of the two countries, fully tap the potentials of cooperation in various areas, work on “the Belt and Road Initiative”, to realize sustainable development and common prosperity of the two countries.
 The two sides expressed happiness at the signing of the Framework Agreement for Developing Cooperation on Production Capacity between Bangladesh and China, and agreed that the Framework Agreement would be utilized for developing cooperation on production capacity of companies and financial institutions to improve the level of investment and cooperation between the two countries.   Both sides believed that there are extensive potentials for cooperation in maritime affairs between the two countries, and agreed to establish a dialogue mechanism for maritime cooperation.
 The Chinese side took note of the concerns of the Bangladeshi side in combating the adverse impacts of climate change, such as protection from the rising sea-level, land reclamation from the sea and rivers, and protecting farmland and forests (including mangroves and seaweeds) from the intrusion of salinity. China is ready to strengthen cooperation with Bangladesh on Climate Change and supports Bangladesh in its efforts in this regard.  The two sides emphasized that they will abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and stay committed to realizing democratization of international Organizations.
 They agreed to maintain the status and critical role of the UN in international affairs, support necessary reform of the UN and the UN Security Council, and increased representation of developing countries in the Security Council.
The two sides reiterated their commitments for a peaceful, stable, open, inclusive, developing and prosperous South Asia. They agreed to enhance coordination and cooperation in SAARC and other regional cooperation mechanisms.