Bangladesh, China show interest to regional connectivity under BRI

Bangladesh and China today discussed on contributing to the connectivity in this region under Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) while the two countries high officials gathered at 12th Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) in Dhaka.

"Both sides also showed interest in contributing to the regional connectivity in South and South East Asia under the auspices of the Belt and Road Initiative of China," said a press release issued by Bangladesh's foreign ministry here.

Bangladesh foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen and Chinese foreign affairs vice minister Sun Weidong led their respective sides at the FOC at the State Guest House 'Padma' in the capital.

Apart from various bilateral issues, the both sides also discussed other multilateral and regional issues including the Rohingya crisis.

The Chinese side reiterated to facilitate the early, safe, sustainable and voluntary repatriation of the Rohingyas to Rakhine State from Bangladesh.

The Chinese vice minister mentioned that an early repatriation would be beneficial for Bangladesh, Myanmar and the whole region.

The Chinese side appreciated the initiatives of Bangladesh to arrange the 'Go and See' visit in Myanmar and 'Come and Talk' visit in Bangladesh by the respective delegations of Bangladesh and Myanmar to facilitate the repatriation of the first batch of the Pilot Project.

Bangladesh foreign secretary thanked China for their cooperation and emphasized Bangladesh's ongoing efforts to arrange continued voluntary and sustainable repatriation engaging the friendly countries, regional and international organizations.

During the talk, Sun mentioned that he is visiting Dhaka after ten years and is very much impressed to see Bangladesh's tremendous development achievements carried out by the Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The Chinese side reiterated its appreciation to Bangladesh for its continued support to One China Policy.

The two sides expressed satisfaction at the existing defense cooperation and discussed possibilities of regular staff level talks and specialized training programs.

They recalled the recent high-level political exchanges and meetings that have further deepened the strategic partnership of cooperation.

Bangladesh once again thanked China for its support for vaccines to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two sides reviewed the progress of different quality infrastructure projects in Bangladesh and welcomed the upcoming inauguration of mega projects like the Bangabandhu Tunnel under the river Karnaphuli and the Padma Bridge Rail-link.

Both sides agreed to further streamline the outstanding issues concerning a few additional project proposals in power and communication sectors.

The two sides also discussed ways to enhance the exports to China by utilizing the Duty and Quota Free (DFQF) access to 98 percent of the products that has come to effect on 1st September 2022.

The Chinese side expressed particular interest in importing tropical fruits like mango, jackfruit, guava and frozen foods from Bangladesh in compliance with necessary quality specifications.

Bangladesh side requested to include other export items like vegetables, pharmaceuticals, raw hides, foot wares, non-knit apparels, in the DFQF coverage to minimize the existing trade imbalance with China.

The Chinese Vice Minister assured of encouraging the Chinese farms to invest at the Chinese Special Economic Zone in Chattogram.

They also advised for timely notification of interest with the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority for resuming the Dhaka-Guanzhu direct flight by Biman Bangladesh Airlines.

Two sides agreed to launch regular Consular Consultations with a view to addressing visa related issues especially for Bangladeshi students.

Bangladesh expressed its interest in working together with China on innovation in digital technologies and biotechnologies.

China offered its support to build capacity for addressing emerging challenges like online gambling and drug trafficking.

The two sides agreed in principle to have dedicated dialogue on public security issues.

Bangladesh thanked China for sharing meteorological satellite information during natural calamities like cyclone and flood.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha