Dhaka Courier

Bangladesh, China plan big to boost strategic partnership

Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh H.E. Zhang Zuo meets Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office recently ahead of her China visit. (PID)

PM’s China Visit: Trade, investment, Rohingya issues high on agenda

Bangladesh and China plan to bolster their “strategic partnership” taking it to a new height during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s crucial visit, scheduled for July 1-5, “bringing big” for expediting the country’s ongoing development.

China has invited Prime Minister Hasina to pay an official visit and both sides are now finalising things for the important visit. It will be Sheikh Hasina’s first bilateral visit to Beijing following her party’s overwhelming victory in the last parliamentary election.

She will have meetings with President Xi and Prime Minister Li Keqiang and discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in broader areas. A good number of bilateral documents are likely to be signed during the visit ranging from economic, culture, power and ICT. The two countries are likely to discuss future cooperation projects, trade and investment issues; apart from discussion on regional and global issues.

Bangladesh formally joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Bangladesh in October, 2016.Under the BRI framework, China wants to share its development experiences with other countries and improve connectivity between Asia and Europe and Africa.

Summer Davos

The Chinese government also invited the Prime Minister to attend annual meeting of the “New Champions” which is known as “Summer Davos” to be held in Dalian on July 1-3. Prime Minister Hasina is expected to have an exclusive meeting on July 2 with the founder and Executive Chairman of World Economic Forum (WEF) Prof Klaus Schwab in Dalian. She is also expected to be a panelist at a session on Cooperation in the Pacific Rim at the WEF Dalian.

Summer Davos, themed ‘Leadership 4.0: Succeeding in a New Era of Globalization’, is bringing together leaders from every sector and every part of the world to discuss how to cooperate on the challenges ahead.

Activities have been designed to provide Chinese cultural experiences at the programme in Liaoning Province, according to the city’s authorities responsible for the coordination of the event. The “Dalian Night” will feature performances by well-known performing groups, including folk dances, acrobatics, Peking Opera, ballet and folk music.

The event venue and parts of Dalian will be covered with 5G signals, allowing participants to enjoy the convenience brought by 5G services and experience 5G technologies-supported applications like panoramic VR, and 5G plus 4K ultra-high definition television.

Globalization 4.0 represents fundamental changes in the global economy that are reshaping companies, communities and countries at an unprecedented speed and scale.

These changes are driven by environmental challenges, regional competition, economic disparities and technological disruption. They, in turn, require different forms of leadership and collaboration adapted to this new era of globalisation. Platform strategies and systems leadership are key business concepts behind the sweeping technological changes propelling the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Leadership 4.0 requires an understanding of how new champions that are gaining economic influence are disrupting and transforming current industry models. WEF engages leaders who have the vision and values to shape the future in this new context.

The Annual Meeting of the New Champions is designed as the foremost global summit on innovation and entrepreneurship with more than 1,500 participants, 100 working sessions and community activities, along with the opportunity to engage in several new forum initiatives.

Beijing has already placed five specific suggestions for deepening Bangladesh-China strategic partnership of cooperation with an emphasis on intensifying ‘strategic mutual trust’.

“First, we need to deepen strategic mutual trust and then we need to deepen economic integration,” Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Zhang Zuo said at Cosmos Dialogue recently.

Other suggestions put forward by him were to deepen innovation and interaction, have stronger cooperation on experience sharing on security, and deepen cultural and people’s connectivity.

He said that China wants to join hands with Bangladesh to become good partners with equality and mutual trust.

Concerns over Rohingya issue

Bangladesh will convey its fear of “radicalism and uncertainty” in the region on security front to China due to the prolonged stay of Rohingyas in Bangladesh during Prime Minister’s visit.

“If the problem [Rohingya crisis] remains unresolved for a long time, there’s a possibility of growing some pockets of radicalism. If terrorist acts grow, there’ll be uncertainty in the entire region,” said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen ahead of the visit.

China might face problem in achieving its desired goal if uncertainty prevails in the region. Dr Momen said the Rohingya issue will be there on the priority list during Prime Minister’s visit to China while the investment issue will come up as a relevant one.

“China is investing a lot in Myanmar. China has also invested in Bangladesh. The investment will bring no benefit if there’s no peace and discipline. We’ll also convey it to China,” said Dr Momen.

The Foreign Minister mentioned that the government of Bangladesh has so far kept Rohingyas under control. Peace needs to be ensured in the region for the betterment of Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar. Dr Momen thinks China is with Bangladesh on the matter of repatriation of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine State from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is currently hosting 1.2 million Rohingyas. Most of them came here from their homeland in Rakhine State after Myanmar launched a brutal offensive targeting the mainly-Muslim ethnic minority on August 25, 2017. Bangladesh had a plan to send back the Rohingyas within two years as per the agreement signed with Myanmar. Bangladesh wants China to push Myanmar to resume the repatriation process during Prime Minister Hasina’s upcoming China visit.

On June 25, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Zhang Zuo met Foreign Minister Dr Momen. During the meeting, Dr Momen sought China’s support to convince Myanmar to start taking back their nationals from Bangladesh at the earliest. Bangladesh is ready to send back Rohingyas who are in the verified list.

Bangladesh and China have shared their views on the role Myanmar should play to create a congenial atmosphere so that Rohingyas feel secured for their repatriation and resettlement in Rakhine State.

  • Bangladesh, China plan big to boost strategic partnership
  • AKM Moinuddin
  • Vol 35
  • Issue 51
  • DhakaCourier

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