China, Bangladesh to support each other on core issues and say 'no' to external interference: Chinese envoy

China, Bangladesh to support each other on core issues and say 'no' to external interferenceUNB

Ambassador of China to Bangladesh Yao Wen on Saturday said Bangladesh and China 'should deepen the strategic partnership' for cooperation and explore new growth points.

"China is willing to work with Bangladesh to continue exploring cooperation opportunities under the Global Development Initiative (GDI), the Global Security Initiative (GSI) and the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI)," he said.

In particular, the ambassador said, they are willing to promote upgrading of industries and digitalization process in Bangladesh, and to improve the quality and competitiveness of “Made in Bangladesh”.

He was delivering a keynote speech at a symposium as part of the Cosmos Dialogue.

Ambassadors’ Lecture Series titled "Bangladesh-China Relations: Prognosis for the Future" at a hotel in Dhaka.

The discussion was chaired and conducted by president, Cosmos Foundation and former foreign affairs advisor Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury.

Chairman of Cosmos Foundation Enayetullah Khan delivered the welcome remarks.

Enayetullah Khan said Bangladesh and China are moving closer together as friends on the international stage.

"It is a great source of inspiration to Bangladeshis as we witness China’s peaceful rise. We know from President Xi that the Chinese people have a dream; so do we in Bangladesh as we strive to achieve middle-income status, of which we are on the cusp," he said.

"It is my firmest conviction that ties with China will continue to form the bedrock of our efforts to fulfill these aspirations," Khan said.

The Chinese side has noticed the “Indo-Pacific Outlook of Bangladesh” released recently, and believes that many of its ideas are similar to those of China, said ambassador Yao.

"China supports Bangladesh in playing a more active and more significant role in regional and international affairs while preserving its foreign policy of independence," he said.

The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century, and the pendulum of prosperity is pivoting to the East, said the Chinese envoy.

"Both China and Bangladesh are facing unprecedented opportunities and challenges," he said.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launching of the BRI.

Eight mega projects in Bangladesh, such as the Padma Bridge Railway Link Project, will be completed and put into use.

The construction of the Rajshahi Surface Water Treatment Plant Project will also kick off, said the ambassador sharing the outcomes of the high-level visits in 2016 and 2019 and deepening cooperation under the BRI.

Talking about the future of relations, ambassador Yao said Bangladesh and China should continue to firmly support each other in following a development path that suits our respective national conditions.

The modernisation of both China and Bangladesh involves a huge population.

"We should always bear realities in mind as we address issues, make decisions, and take action. We should adhere to the path of peaceful development, and refuse to tread the old path of war, colonisation, and plunder taken by some countries," he said.

"Standing on our own feet, both China and Bangladesh have made a miracle of rapid socio-economic development, thus attracted attention of the whole world," he added.

The envoy said China respects Bangladesh's choice of its own development path, and is willing to strengthen strategic communication and mutual learning with Bangladesh on this basis.

"China and Bangladesh should continue to support each other on issues of core interests, and say "no" to external interference with one voice," he said.

Yao said Bangladesh and China should make the relations a model of friendship among developing countries, thus make their contribution to the building of a human community with shared future.

"We need to deepen friendship, mutual trust and convergence of interests, set a model of good-neighbours and friends, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries," he said.

The envoy said they should advocate an open global economy and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

"We should oppose protectionism, the erection of “fences and barriers,” decoupling, and unilateral sanctions," he said.

The ambassador said they must uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order based on international law, and the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

"We should defend the true multilateralism, promote greater democracy in international relations, and work together to make global governance fairer and more equitable," he said.

The envoy said they stand on the shoulders of their predecessors and take on the responsibility of carrying forward the China-Bangladesh friendship.

In two years, the two countries will celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

"China is willing to take this opportunity to work with Bangladeshi friends from all walks of life to push our bilateral relations to a new level and usher in a new era of friendly cooperation," said the ambassador.

Vice Dean for Research, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore,  Professor Kanti Bajpai, Senior Fellow and Secretary General of China and South Asia, Center Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS), China Liu Zongyi, Professor, Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, China Lin Minwang, Assistant Research Fellow, Institute for International Strategic and Security Studies, SIIS, China LI Hongmei, former Bangladesh High Commissioner to India and the United States Tariq A Karim spoke as discussants.