Xi’s visit to usher in new era in bilateral cooperation: Hasina

Dhaka, Oct 12 (IANS) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed confidence that the upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping would usher in “a new era of intensive cooperation” in trade, investment and other sectors between the two nations.

Hasina made the comments on Tuesday ahead of Xi’s October 14 visit to the country, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We are very happy and feel honoured that Xi is coming to Bangladesh. I believe that Xi’s visit will also be more important for South Asia,” she told Xinhua here.

Speaking highly of the Bangladesh-China ties, the Prime Minister pointed out that the relations between the two nations were underpinned by “the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, Spirit of Good Neighbourliness, Mutual Trust, Confidence and Non-Interference in each other’s internal affairs”.

Hasina reaffirmed that Bangladesh strongly adheres to the One-China policy and supports Beijing on issues related to its core national interests and efforts to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Xi’s visit comes at a time in history when Bangladesh is about to break free from the clutches of low-level equilibrium trap and move into a brand-new frontier of investment, industrialization, ecological restoration and prosperity for all, said Hasina.

“China has become our largest trading partner and we consider China as a trusted partner in realizing our dreams too. China is the leading generator of many our mega-projects in terms of finance, capitalisation and technology,” she said.

Noting that Bangladesh-China relations are now framed within a comprehensive partnership of cooperation that reaches into almost all possible sectors, Hasina said: “We are planning to elevate the relationship to a newer height with the much-awaited visit of Xi Jinping.”

Hasina said cooperation between Bangladesh and China has gained maturity in past decades, but there are huge potentials for future expansion of the two countries’ engagement in fields such as development of infrastructure and for that matter, investing in emerging sectors like ICT, ago-processing and electronics.

Hailing China-proposed Belt and Road initiative, the prime minister said her country is now working to connect growth centres of the country with the rest of the region in South Asia and create a single economic contiguity between South Asia and Southeast Asia.

And this “would be host to greater integration with East Asia and connect the three ecosystems to the rest of the world through our seaports in the south”, she added.

Hasina expressed her appreciation for China’s support to Bangladesh’s efforts in attaining sustainable development while welcoming Chinese companies investing in the country’s emerging sectors like textiles, leather, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding and agro-processing, among others.

“We are on the verge of launching the exclusive Economic and Industrial Zone in Chittagong that would be a landmark event in our economic, investment and trade cooperation. We would like to encourage Chinese investors to invest in these economic zones as a developer or as an individual investor,” she said.