Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Dhaka and Beijing have elevated their “closer comprehensive partnership of cooperation” to a new level of “strategic partnership for cooperation” through opening up a new era in relations.
Bangladesh and China have also agreed to jointly advance the China’s ‘belt and road initiative’ and establish and carry out “institutional cooperation” in areas of maritime cooperation and counterterrorism.
Both countries also agreed on working together on regional and international issues.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina disclosed their ‘elevated’ level of cooperation at a joint statement after their official talks held at the latter’s office in the capital Dhaka on Friday.
They expressed their firm resolve to work towards socio-economic advancement of the peoples of the two countries with Xi saying China-Bangladesh relationship is now at a new historical starting point.
The two countries have also agreed to declare 2017 as the year of exchange and friendship – that will be highlighted by a number of cultural exchanges and programmes.
After the bilateral talks the two countries signed 15 Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) and agreements at government-to-government level and 12 MoUs on loan agreements and mutual agreements.
Two leaders witnessed the signing of 27 agreements and MoUs and unveiled plaques of six projects including multi-lane tunnel beneath the Karnaphuli River in Chittagong, Shahjalal Fertilizer Company Limited, laid the foundation stones of Bangladesh IV Tier National Data Center, Payra 1320 megawatt (MW) Thermal Power Plant, Chittagong 1320 MW Thermal Power Plant, and unveiled Confucius Institute at Dhaka University.
The cooperation deals and MoUs signed by both sides also include on blue economy, addressing climate change, power and renewable energy sector and cooperation on information technology.
Besides, the foreign ministers of the two countries signed a MoU to support the ‘One Belt One Road’, a connectivity initiative of the Chinese president.
Under the “One Belt, One Road” initiative comprising the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, China is focusing on building a trade and infrastructure network for connecting at least 60 Asian countries with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.
Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled such initiative in 2013 aiming to boost not only China’s development but also that of other countries.
As part of consensus on enhanced economic cooperation, the two countries singed a framework agreement on production capacity building.
Under the deal, the Chinese government would assist Bangladesh in technology transfer, capacity building, training and establishment of new entities.
Several other MoUs were signed in private sector that would help strengthening ties between the private sectors of the two countries particularly in the areas of trade and investment.
“All agreements signed between the two countries are related to business, trade, investment, ICT and infrastructure development,” Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh M Shahidul Haque told reporters after the meeting.
As asked about the estimated financial value of the agreements and MoUs, the secretary said: “You’ll have to wait more few days to know about total financial involvement of the projects to be undertaken under the newly identified agreements”.
But he said the two leaders agreed that the development of the people of the two countries was most crucial for bilateral ties.
Without any elaboration, the secretary also said an agreement was signed on economic and technical cooperation and a framework agreement on road and tunnel.
President Xi led a 13-member high powered Chinese side at the talks.
They included two Chinese senior members of Political Bureau of the Central Committee of Communist Party of China Wang Huning and Li Zhanshu, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister of National Development and Reform Commission Xu Shaoshi, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and Governor of the People’s Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the Bangladesh side that comprised of Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Public Administration Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, Minister for Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.

Earlier on his arrival at the Prime Minister’s Office around 3:00 pm (local time), Sheikh Hasina received Xi at the Tiger Gate of the PMO and then the two leaders hold a tete-a-tete for about ten minutes.
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Dhaka on Friday morning on a historic state visit amid a high hope in Bangladesh that it will steer a ‘historic new journey’ towards opening up a new horizon in bilateral relations.
A special aircraft of Air China carrying the Chinese president and his entourage landed at the VVIP terminal at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 11:36am.

BBN/SSR/AD