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Dhaka, Beijing to expand mutual engagements

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Staff reporter

Bangladesh and China have agreed to expand mutual engagements on various economic and social fields for further improvement of the existing relations.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi reached the agreement at a meeting held on the sidelines of the 21st Asean Regional Forum (ARF) Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on Sunday last, said a media release on Tuesday.

Both ministers discussed Bangladesh China India Myanmar-Economic Cooperation (BCIM-EC) and agreed to work together to take beneficial projects that suit all the countries in the bloc.

Mahmood Ali reiterated the necessity of Chinese President Xi Jinping’ s visit to Bangladesh to celebrate 40 years of Bangladesh-China diplomatic relations in a befitting manner.

Wang informed the Bangladesh Foreign Minister that China would host 100 youths from Bangladesh in connection with the celebrations.

The Chinese Foreign Minister termed the recent visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to China as ‘highly successful’.

He also invited Mahmood Ali to visit China again at a mutually convenient time.

The Chinese Foreign Minister mentioned that China always attaches high value to its relations with Bangladesh and expressed his keen interest on cooperation in various economic sectors, especially jute and agriculture.

In this connection, he informed that China would soon invite Bangladesh Agriculture Minister for discussion on importing super hybrid rice seed and for establishing a Hybrid Rice Laboratory in Bangladesh.

While assuring their full support towards Bangladesh’s candidature in Human Rights Council and Inter-Parliamentary Union, Wang assured Bangladesh Foreign Minister that China would join hand in Bangladesh’ s campaign in this regard in garnering the confidence of other member states.

Wang also affirmed that China would be represented at a higher expert level to the International Conference of ‘Blue Economy’ to be held in Dhaka on September 1-2.

He also nodded to Bangladesh’s request to become a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali also had informal meetings with other Foreign Ministers of the Forum, including the US and Indian Foreign Ministers.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, during the meeting, expressed his desire to visit Bangladesh at the earliest possible time, while Sushma Swaraj reiterated India’s desire to strengthen further the bilateral relations between the two friendly neighbors.

Earlier, while addressing the annual Ministerial Meeting of the Asean Regional Forum (ARF), the Foreign Minister proposed turning the security centric narrative of the Forum into a human security focused strategy in line with the People’s Empowerment and Development Model of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina which has been adopted as a Resolution at the UN General Assembly.

The Foreign Minister also expressed Bangladesh’s serious concern and vehement protest against the atrocities being perpetrated in the Gaza Strip.

The ARF foreign ministers discussed important security and political issues of the Region, including those of the South China Sea, Korean Peninsula, Gaza Strip, the Middle East and Ukraine.

They also reaffirmed their commitment of cooperation and sharing of information with regard to non-traditional security issues, like counter-terrorism, transnational crimes, drug and human trafficking, cyber security, climate change and natural and manmade disasters.

The ministers also welcomed the planned ARF Disaster Relief Exercise to be held on 1- 6 February 2015 in Malaysia, co-chaired by Malaysia and China and the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction hosted by Japan in March 2015.