PM Hasina reaffirms Bangladesh's support for 'one-China' policy
Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday reaffirmed Bangladesh's support for the one-China policy, saying it values friendship with Beijing as she held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who promised better trade ties, investment and support for infrastructure development in the country.
In the midst of rising tension between China and Taiwan after the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei, Chinese foreign minister Wang arrived in Dhaka on Saturday evening and met with Prime Minister Hasina and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen. Wang's visit coincided with the tour of a senior US state department official.
She (Hasina) said Bangladesh values its friendship with China and reiterated that Dhaka believes in One China Policy', premier's press secretary Ihsanul Karim told media after Wang called on her at her official Ganabhaban residence.
After winning elections in 2008, Hasina's administration closed the Taiwanese business representative office in Dhaka in response to a request from China, and since then China has increased its engagement in Bangladesh.
Hasina's comments came as Wang explained Beijing's stance over the Taiwan issue while she also said South Asia, South East Asia and China could work together for economic progress negating challenges arising from the Russia-Ukraine war.
Hasina said the Russia-Ukraine conflict resulted in sanctions and counter-sanctions and "people (across the globe) are suffering from all these reasons while South Asia, South East Asia and China can work together for economic progress, overcoming the contemporary challenges". The Chinese foreign minister said his country would support issues involving Bangladesh in the international forums and continue their cooperation for Bangladesh's overall development as a strategic partner .
China will continue supporting the development of Bangladesh as a strategic development partner," Karim quoted Wang as telling the Premier. Discussing the Rohingya refugee crisis, Hasina said the forcibly displaced Rohingyas have now become an extra burden for Bangladesh, as she sought China's cooperation to resolve the issue. Wang, however, said Beijing expected the issue to be resolved through bilateral talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
During talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Momen, Wang reiterated China's commitment to do its level best to find a solution to start Rohingyas repatriation to Myanmar.
Bangladesh and China signed or renewed four agreements and memorandums of understanding on disaster management, infrastructure, cultural exchanges and marine science after Wang's talks with Momen.
Junior minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam later told reporters that during the bilateral meeting, China promised to give duty-free access of another one per cent of Bangladeshi products to its market. "I think this is the major achievement of his (Chinese foreign minister) visit here that China will allow duty free access of an extra one percent of Bangladeshi products to their market," Alam said. From September 1, Bangladesh would get 99 per cent duty-free export facility in the Chinese market, he said, adding that the Chinese minister also showed interest to commence discussion regarding preferential trade mechanism with Dhaka.
Both sides discussed bilateral, regional and global issues and expressed hope to elevate bilateral relations between Dhaka and Beijing into a new level, Alam said.
Wang visited Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi-32 on Saturday evening and paid tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. US Assistant Secretary of State for International Organisation Affairs Michele J Sison arrived in Dhaka on August 6 on a two-day visit as part of her tri-nation official tour.
Bangladesh foreign ministry officials are yet to report any meetings with her but US embassy officials earlier said she would seek Bangladesh's support for Doreen Bogdan-Martin, one of the candidates for the post of Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU).