High-level exchanges open new chapter in China-Bangladesh relations

10:37, June 13, 2010      

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High-level exchanges will further strengthen China-Bangladesh ties after 35 years of fruitful bilateral cooperation, the Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh said.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping will pay an official visit to Bangladesh on June 14-15 at the invitation of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed.

Since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1975, the bilateral ties had embraced smooth and healthy development, Ambassador Zhang Xianyi said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

China and Bangladesh established a comprehensive cooperative partnership in 2005, featuring long-term friendship, equality and mutual benefits, Zhang said.

"During Hasina's visit to China in March, the two sides decided to set up and develop closer comprehensive cooperative partnership from the strategic perspective and on the basis of the principles of longstanding friendship, equality, and mutual benefit," he said.

Zhang said China and Bangladesh were facing historical tasks of developing their economy, eliminating poverty and improving people's livelihoods.

"The two countries share the same or similar opinions on many international issues," he said.

The past 35 years have witnessed frequent high-level exchanges between the two countries as well as exchanges between parliaments, political parties, local governments and non-governmental organizations, he said.

The exchanges between the two countries had contributed to strengthening bilateral ties and deepening the friendship between the two peoples, the ambassador said.

Trade volume between China and Bangladesh increased to 4.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2008 from 3.1 billion dollars in 2006, but it slipped to 4.58 billion dollars in 2009 due to the international financial crisis.

"Bilateral trade may exceed 5 billion dollars this year," Zhang said.

Bangladesh had a big trade deficit with China, he said. "To trim the trade gap, China sends purchasing groups every year to Bangladesh to explore potentials of its markets."

"The Chinese government will cut tariffs on 4,721 Bangladeshi products to zero from July 1, which cover almost all the country's products with export advantages," he said.

China had helped Bangladesh build six bridges and one conference center, which had become symbols of the friendship between the two countries, he said.

"The Chinese government has agreed to help Bangladesh to build a seventh bridge, another exhibition center and two primary schools," he said.

The Bangladeshi government is also committed to improving its investment environment, despite the energy crisis, the ambassador said, adding he was confident of its sound investment environment if the energy shortage was eased.

Meanwhile, people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries were very active, Zhang said. "China offers dozens of scholarships to Bangladeshi students every year, and about 100 opportunities for people working in different areas in Bangladesh to be trained in China."

China and Bangladesh will exchange art groups to celebrate their 35th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations this year, he said.

A group of Chinese medical experts would also visit Bangladesh to offer free medical treatments to the country's cataract patients, he said.

The two countries were discussing cooperation in the fields of agriculture, health and climate change, Zhang said.

The two sides had enjoyed political mutual trust, mutually beneficial cooperation and sound cooperation and communication in various fields, he said.

The ambassador said the joint efforts of the two governments and the two peoples would advance the comprehensive cooperative partnership between the two countries to a new level.



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