中孟始终携手合作,共创美好未来 - 2024-07-08


The author is Ambassador of China to Bangladesh

At the invitation of Premier Li Qiang, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is paying an official visit to China from Monday to Wednesday. This is Sheikh Hasina's fifth visit to China and her first in five years.

This visit is of historic significance, as it will enable the two sides to build on the past achievements and forge bilateral relations in the future. During the visit, Sheikh Hasina will hold meetings with and call on Chinese leaders. The visit, therefore, will inject vibrant impetus into bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields, and help make new achievements in the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation and elevate bilateral ties to new heights.

Friendship lasts from one generation to another

A modern town built by a Chinese company on a plot of barren land in Khulna, Bangladesh, aims to provide support for a large power plant. 

The friendship between China and Bangladesh was founded and nurtured by the older generation of leaders of both countries. In the 49 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Bangladesh have always respected and treated each other as equals, pursued mutual benefit and win-win results, supported each other on issues concerning each other's core interests, and worked together on the path to realizing their respective development and revitalization, thus setting a shining example of friendly coexistence and win-win cooperation.

The amicable cooperation between China and Bangladesh exhibits strong vitality, dynamism, and growth potential, is not targeted at any third party, and is welcomed and supported by people of both countries, contributing to regional and international peace and stability, as well as fostering development and prosperity.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reiterated that China is Bangladesh's most trustworthy development partner and most reliable friend. This is the most vivid portrayal of the relationship between the two countries.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 49 years ago, China and Bangladesh have made remarkable achievements in their respective national construction, economic development and modernization drive. China has become the world's second-largest economy, won the biggest poverty-alleviation battle in history, built a moderately prosperous society in all respects on schedule, and advanced the great cause of building China into a strong country and achieving national rejuvenation through Chinese modernization.

Bangladesh seeks to be self-reliant in feeding nearly 180 million Bangladeshi people, and to maintain long-term political stability and realize rapid economic development. The country's average annual GDP growth rate in the past decade has exceeded 6 percent, and its GDP is more than $450 billion and per capita GDP nearly $2,800 Its economic strength has risen to the second place in South Asia.

Bangladesh has transformed from one of the poorest countries into one of the fastest growing economies in the world, leading South Asian countries in terms of life expectancy, literacy, and female labor force participation rate, performing what is popularly called the "Bay of Bengal Miracle" and becoming one of the leaders in the Global South.

Bangladesh's aim is to graduate from a least-developed country to a middle-income country by 2026, an upper-middle income country by 2031, and a developed country by 2041, realizing the goals of "Vision 2041" and the dream of "Sonar Bangla" (Golden Bangladesh).

The sound and stable development of China-Bangladesh relations can be attributed to the guidance of the leaders of both countries. In 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a historic state visit to Bangladesh during which, the relationship between the two countries was elevated to the level of a strategic partnership of cooperation, paving the way for China-Bangladesh friendly cooperation in the new era. And during Sheikh Hasina's visit to China in 2019, the bilateral relationship was elevated to an even higher level.

China supports Bangladesh in its endeavor to safeguard its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, while opposing external interference in its internal affairs. It also supports Bangladesh in its efforts to independently choose a development path that suits its national conditions, and pursue a foreign policy based on "friendship with all, malice toward none".

Bangladesh, on its part, adheres to the one-China principle and staunchly supports China in safeguarding its sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity and development interests.

Also, China and Bangladesh share similar historical experiences, abide by similar foreign policies, values and development concepts, and have always supported each other. On the path of Bangladesh's modernization, China is a loyal companion and an active contributor.

The highlight of China-Bangladesh relations lies in high-level trade and economic cooperation. China has been Bangladesh's largest trading partner for 13 years in a row, and by the end of 2023, China had invested $3.2 billion in Bangladesh, making it Bangladesh's second-largest source of foreign investment. It has also completed seven railway projects, 12 highways, and built 21 bridges and 31 power stations in Bangladesh.

BRI promotes deep exchanges

This photo taken on June 25, 2023 shows the Padma Bridge on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The bridge was undertaken by China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group Co Ltd and opened to public in June 2022.

In particular, since the Belt and Road Initiative took root in the Bay of Bengal, the Chinese side has completed a series of landmark and large-scale engineering projects in Bangladesh, such as the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel and the Dasherkandi Sewage Treatment Plant, which have delivered tangible benefits to the Bangladeshi people.

The nearly 1,000 Chinese companies operating in Bangladesh today have helped create more than 550,000 job opportunities. And Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has spoken highly of the Belt and Road Initiative, asserting that it has opened a new door of development for Bangladesh and played a significant role in the economic takeoff of Bangladesh.

China-Bangladesh relations are rooted in the friendly ties between the people of the two countries. The depth of the two countries' friendship can be gauged from the fact that on International Children's Day last year, President Xi Jinping replied to a letter from a Bangladeshi child called Alifa Chin, encouraging her to study hard, pursue her dreams and carry on the traditional friendship between the people of Bangladesh and China. Chin's story epitomizes the close bond between our two nations.

Besides, nearly 20,000 Bangladeshi students are studying in China, and two Confucius Institutes and one Confucius Classroom have provided training for about 3,000 students in Bangladesh in the past year. Also, learning the Chinese language has become extremely popular across Bangladesh, and the Centre for China Studies in the University of Dhaka has provided a new, larger platform for cooperation between the think tanks and academia of the two countries.

Furthermore, Air China and China Southern Airlines will commence direct flights between Beijing and Dhaka later this month, and operate about The number of flights will thereby amount to 80 flights per week with a capacity of over 15,000 passengers, increasing people-to-people exchanges and promoting business and investment between the two countries.

According to the "National Image of China in Bangladesh" survey conducted by authoritative Bangladeshi think tanks for two consecutive years, more than 90 percent of the respondents said they believed the current state of China-Bangladesh relationship is positive, and there has been a noticeable increase in Bangladeshi people's approval of China.

China and Bangladesh support each other in the global arena and uphold international fairness and justice. China has supported Bangladesh's initiative for the "Culture of Peace" Resolution at the United Nations General Assembly for 25 consecutive years, and advocates for Bangladesh being a partner country of BRICS, leading to its full membership of the grouping. And it appreciates Bangladesh's outstanding contributions to, and enormous sacrifices in, international peacekeeping operations.

China and Bangladesh have similar stances on issues such as promotion of democracy, protection of human rights, empowerment of women, mitigation of climate change, conservation of the environment and ecology, and pursuit of sustainable development. The two countries coordinate and cooperate with multilateral organizations and mechanisms such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the ASEAN Regional Forum. They have also bolstered cooperation on issues such as the Palestine-Israel conflict and the Ukraine crisis, working together to maintain world peace and stability.

China sympathizes with Bangladesh for the huge cost it has borne for the Rohingya issue, which can be resolved only through repatriation. As for the situation in Rakhine state, China is sparing no effort in engaging with relevant parties in Myanmar for a political settlement to the issue, playing a facilitating role in achieving a cease-fire in Rakhine state, and striving to restart the repatriation of the Rohingya people.

"A partnership forged with the right approach defies geographical distance; it is thicker than glue and stronger than metal and stone." During Sheikh Hasina's visit to China, it is expected that both sides will reach important consensuses and sign multiple cooperation documents and memorandums of understanding on infrastructure, free trade agreements, the digital economy, disaster prevention, poverty alleviation, clean energy, healthcare, education, cultural exchanges and other areas.

China stands ready to take Sheikh Hasina's visit as an opportunity to further deepen political mutual trust between the two countries, strengthen the synergy of development strategies, consolidate the traditional friendship, and work together to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and Bangladesh's "Vision 2041".

We hope Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to China is a complete success. Long live China-Bangladesh friendship.

The author is Yao Wen, Ambassador of China to Bangladesh.

Source: China Daily





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