Prime minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese president Xi Jinping on Friday said they agreed to elevate China-Bangladesh relationship from a ‘closer comprehensive partnership of cooperation’ to a ‘strategic partnership of cooperation’.
Both sides also agreed to increase high-level exchanges and strategic communication so that the bilateral relations move ahead at even a higher level.
They made the remarks in the evening after official talks and signing of 27 memorandums of understanding and agreement between the two countries at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Hasina said, ‘Today, we’ve elevated our “closer comprehensive partnership of cooperation” to a “strategic partnership for cooperation” and under this strategic partnership, we’ve agreed to work towards socio-economic advancement of the peoples of our two countries.’
She said they reached a consensus on cooperation in key areas such as trade and investment, infrastructure, industry, power, and energy, information and communication technology and agriculture.
Terming his meeting with Hasina ‘warm and productive,’ the Chinese president said they reached agreements on a number of important issues.
‘We’ve agreed jointly advance road and belt initiative,’ Xi said, adding that they also agreed to launch a joint feasibility study on China-Bangladesh free trade agreement to strengthen trade and investment cooperation.
Xi Jinping said the Bangladesh-China relations were now at ‘new historical’ turning point and heading towards a ‘promising future’.
‘China-Bangladesh cooperation will deliver more fruits for the people of the two countries, and will contribute to peace and stability and development in the region,’ he said.
The Chinese president laid emphasis on enhancing practical cooperation in key areas such as infrastructure, production capacity, energy and power, transportation, ICT, and agriculture.
He said China would continue to do its best in providing capital, technical and human resources to carry out close cooperation on the projects to support economic and social development of Bangladesh.
The two countries also agreed to designate the year 2017 as the year of ‘exchange and friendship’ between Bangladesh and China during which colourful events would be held to carry forward the friendship.
They also laid emphasis on institutionalising cooperation on maritime affairs, counter-terrorism, advance BCIM Economic Corridor and increase communication and coordination on international and regional issues.
‘China is ready to work with Bangladesh as friends and partners with trust and support to each other,’ said the Chinese president.
They witnessed the signing of 27 agreements and memorandums of cooperation that covered, among others, trade, investment, blue economy, BCIM-EC, roads, and bridges, railways, power, maritime, ICT, industrial production, capacity building and skill development.
Both leaders also unveiled the plaques of six projects adding that the signing of these instruments and the unveiling of these plaques would create a platform for the two countries to cooperate at a higher plane.
The prime minister said her government’s efforts today are aimed at attaining goals of becoming a knowledge-based middle-income country by 2021 and eventually a developed country by 2041.
‘By attaining these goals we will realise Bangabandhu’s dream of Sonar Bangladesh – the Golden Bengal – a Bangladesh free of hunger, poverty and deprivation,’ said the prime minister.
She also said that they had very fruitful discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues of common interest. ‘We’ve reiterated our commitment to support the 'one China policy. We’ve agreed to work closely and support each other on regional and international issues of mutual interest.’
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