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Dhaka wants to discuss regional stability, trade, investment issues with Beijing

UNB . Dhaka
22 Aug 2023 21:23:17 | Update: 22 Aug 2023 22:01:01
Dhaka wants to discuss regional stability, trade, investment issues with Beijing

Bangladesh wants to discuss the importance of regional peace and stability, enhanced trade and investment and loan issues with the Chinese President in Johannesburg, South Africa in any prospective meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen indicated this while talking to reporters on Monday.

"Nothing is finalised yet. Details are yet to be worked out," he said regarding the possibility of such a meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.

The bilateral meeting between Hasina and Xi is likely to take place on August 23, a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told UNB.

Asked whether regional peace and stability will be there in the agenda, Momen said wherever he goes, he says "peace and stability is imperative" and if he remains present in the meeting, he will convey this to the Chinese side.

On October 14, 2016, Xi held talks in Dhaka with Hasina. Both sides spoke positively of China-Bangladesh traditional friendship and progress achieved from bilateral cooperation in all fronts, exchanged in-depth views and reached broad consensus on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common concern, and agreed to establish China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation, so as to continuously move forward bilateral relationship at higher levels.

The prime minister left Dhaka for Johannesburg on Tuesday morning. She will attend the BRICS-Africa Outreach and the BRICS Plus Dialogues.

The foreign minister, who accompanied the prime minister, said China is the development partner of Bangladesh and the two countries signed a number of projects and MoUs worth a total $23 billion project with the government in addition to $13 billion from the private sector.

"But we got only $4 billion in the last eight years. Expediting the projects can be a topic of discussion,” he said.

Momen said Bangladesh wants loans at a lower interest rate which is likely to be discussed.

“There will be climate issues, and regulated migration issues. We also want trade and investment for economic development,” he said.

China has given concessions to Bangladesh for trade but the trade is titled towards China.

"We will tell them to increase trade, increase investment," Momen said.

Asked about Bangladesh's inclusion in the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, he said their scholars who study these things say that it is good for the country. "But we haven't talked yet. We haven't signed it yet.”

Momen said peace and stability are imperative for development and Prime Minister Hasina is a shining example of promoting both in the region.

"My basic policy is peace and stability," Momen told reporters when asked about Bangladesh’s engagements in the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg.

"Regional peace and stability are the most important things. For any country's growth and development, peace and stability are major factors," he said.

Asked about PM Hasina’s meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the foreign minister said Bangladesh sought a courtesy meeting with Modi in Johannesburg as both the prime ministers are likely to have a broader bilateral meeting on the sidelines of G20 in September in New Delhi.

"Time is very limited in Johannesburg. And the governments confirm things at the last minute," Momen said.