Beijing, China (BBN)– Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay state visits to Bangladesh and Cambodia on Thursday-Saturday in a bid to push forward cooperation within the framework of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
His trips represent China’s latest effort to seek common development and growth under the initiative. They also reaffirm China’s commitment to its neighborhood diplomacy featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, reports Xinhua.
Xi’s state visits to Cambodia and Bangladesh will serve to deepen strategic cooperation and step up regional connectivity under the initiative.
There is great potential in Cambodia’s cooperation with China, its largest trading partner and source of foreign investment, as its development strategy is highly complimentary with the Chinese initiative.
As an important hub of transport in Southeast Asia, Cambodia also held a key position on the ancient maritime Silk Road that used to connect the East with the West.
China and Cambodia are building the Sihanoukville special economic zone in southwestern Cambodia as an example of collaboration under the Belt and Road Initiative, while expanding concrete cooperation in sectors including economics and trade, infrastructure and energy resources.
In Bangladesh, a series of initial projects started under the Chinese initiative are expected to strengthen bilateral trade links and people-to-people exchanges.
The infrastructure projects include Padma Bridge near the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, the underwater tunnel of Karnaphuli River in the country’s southeast, the upgrade of power distribution system and the extension of the N8 highway to connect with Padma Bridge.
With Bangladesh at the center of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, Xi’s visit is expected to boost consensus and the economic corridor’s construction, stimulating economic growth in Bangladesh, Chai Xi, a former Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh, commented.
Xi’s trip to Cambodia, the first since he took office, will be significant in consolidating the friendship between the two countries while his visit to Bangladesh will mark a milestone in the development of bilateral ties.
Xi’s trip to Cambodia is reciprocal to the one to Beijing by King Norodom Sihamoni in June, during which they agreed to further the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between their countries.
Xi is scheduled to meet the king and hold talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen and witness the signing of bilateral deals expected to increase cooperation in sectors including trade, investment and tourism.
Xi’s visit to Bangladesh is the first by a Chinese president in more than 30 years. The two sides are expected to lift their comprehensive partnership to a new level.
During his stay in Bangladesh, Xi will meet with President Abdul Hamid and National Assembly Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, and hold talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Cooperation accords will be signed in sectors such as infrastructure, production capacity, energy and transport.
“Xi’s visits to the two countries show the importance China has attached to relations with them, and its good will to promote good-neighborly ties and friendly cooperation with Southeast and South Asian countries, with an eye to the map of peripheral diplomacy,” said Jiang Jingkui, director of the Center for South Asia Studies, Peking University.