Chinese FM Wang Yi due in Dhaka Saturday to boost cooperation

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Dhaka, Aug 05: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is scheduled to arrive here on Saturday afternoon to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues with Bangladesh leadership.

Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque will receive the Chinese Foreign Minister who is likely to reach Dhaka at 5pm on a two-day trip, a senior official told UNB on Friday.

Neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Chinese embassy in Dhaka shared his programme schedule in detail till the time of filing this report on Friday evening.

Minister Wang is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Sunday morning apart from holding a bilateral meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart AK Abdul Momen the same day.

“This is going to be different from other bilateral visits. I can’t tell you in detail at this moment as many things are still under last minute discussion,” another official familiar with the development told UNB, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader will host a dinner in honour of the Chinese foreign minister on Saturday evening, said State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam.

Foreign Minister Momen is expected to return home Saturday night from Cambodia after attending the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting (5-6 August).

Talking to reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday, Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh and China are likely to sign multiple MoUs and agreements during Wang’s visit.

He said the list is not finalised yet and it can be five-seven – new and renewal including cooperation on the disaster management and cultural exchange fronts.

Shahriar assured that the planned MoUs and agreements will be aligned with Bangladesh’s cultural, social and economic policy though the list is not finalised yet.

The state minister said the relationship between Bangladesh and China is “deep and wide” and the two countries will discuss areas of future cooperation.

Responding to a question, the state minister said Bangladesh will seek a stronger role from the Chinese government for early repatriation of the Rohingyas.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and there is a tripartite mechanism – Bangladesh, Myanmar and China – to discuss and resolve the crisis.

In January 2017, Wang had an hour-long stopover in Dhaka. This time, he is coming for a longer period.

The visit is taking place amid growing geopolitical tensions with impact on developing countries in the region while experts suggest Bangladesh to ensure a strategic balance amid these tensions.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said taking a new loan from China will not be a part of their agenda during the Chinese foreign minister’s Bangladesh visit.

“This time, the issue of taking loan afresh isn’t there at least,” he said on Wednesday when a reporter wanted to know whether Bangladesh is going to take a loan from China again.

Asked what message this visit carries amid the crisis in various parts of the world, the foreign secretary said it will be known once the Chinese foreign minister comes. “We are working on the visit. Things are yet to be finalised.”

He reiterated that the visit is part of the Chinese side’s routine visit to the region and also it is an opportunity to review the existing engagements between the two countries.

“It can’t be said (there’s) urgency (from the Chinese side). Since he will be visiting this region, he expressed the desire to come here if we can give him time. We are looking into the timings,” he said earlier when a reporter wanted to know why there was so much urgency from the Chinese side.

Wang is a member of the 19th CPC Central Committee, State Councilor and a member of the Leading CPC Members Group of the State Council.