Diplomatic sources also said the Bangladesh side will put emphasis on boosting investment and duty free access for more Bangladeshi products in the Chinese market to increase business. Around 98 per cent Bangladeshi products have been getting duty free access to Chinese market. Now it will seek duty free access for 100 per cent products.

Currently, Bangladesh exports products worth USD 700 million to China and imports products worth over USD 1.3 billion. Bangladesh will seek the benefit to cut the disparity, the diplomatic sources added.

Even if the issues like GSI, GDI are raised during the China foreign minister’s visit, we do not have much interest in getting involved in the hostility that is going on among the different superpowers
Masud Bin Momen, Foreign Secretary

Besides, China has invested USD 1.4 billion in Bangladesh so far. The Bangladesh government has given China a special economic zone in Anwara, Chattogram. The Bangladesh side will urge more Chinese investment in other economic zones too.

A total of 27 projects were finalised for implementation during the visit of China president Xi Jinping in Dhaka in 2016. China was supposed to invest USD 24 billion in those projects. The decision will be reviewed during the China foreign minister’s visit this time.

As of July this year, loan agreements for only eight of those projects were signed. Though the cost of the projects is USD 7.8 billion, China released only USD 3.3 billion so far, sources said.

The Bangladesh side will raise the Rohingya repatriation issue as well. Speaking to newspersons, state minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam said on Thursday, “Rohingya issue is the most prioritised issue from our side. The issue will be discussed with due importance.”

Speaking about this, foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen told Prothom Alo on Friday, “We will request so that China puts pressure on Myanmar to create conducive environment in its Rakhine state for Rohingya repatriation.”

The visit of Chinese foreign minister after a few years is very significant. Though the visit will be a short one, bilateral issues will get importance in discussion. At the same time, it will be discussed globally as well
Munshi Foyez Ahmed, Bangladesh’s ex-ambassador to China

Tension between China-Taiwan has been created anew over the Taiwan visit of the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on 2 August, China requested many friendly countries including Bangladesh to issue statement supporting ‘One China’ policy. Bangladesh issued a statement on Thursday reiterating its commitment to ‘One China’ policy.

Diplomatic sources further said the Chinese foreign minister could raise issues like Global Security Initiative (GSI) and Global Development Initiative (GDI) that China president Xi Jinping recently announced.

But foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen said, “Now we are busy with overcoming the Covid-19 situation and facing Russia-Ukraine crisis. As a result, even if the issues like GSI, GDI are raised during the China foreign minister’s visit, we do not have much interest in getting involved in the hostility that is going on among the different superpowers.”

A concerned official said the China foreign minister could raise the US-led IPF (Indo-Pacific Forum) as well. Chinese ambassadors in Dhaka and China cautioned against joining the alliance in May.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Bangladesh’s former ambassador to China, Munshi Foyez Ahmed said, “The visit of Chinese foreign minister after a few years is very significant. Though the visit will be a short one, bilateral issues will get importance in discussion. At the same time, it will be discussed globally as well.”

* The report, originally published in the print edition of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten into English by Shameem Reza

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