by Senior Correspondent
Appreciating China’s humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya refugees, the state minister for foreign affairs has urged Beijing to “understand the political dimension” of the protracted crisis.
Md Shahriar Alam also sought Chinese political support for a durable solution to the crisis.
He sought those support when the newly appointed Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Zhang Zuo paid a courtesy call on him on Monday.
It was his first official meeting at political level after the presentation of his credential to President Md Abdul Hamid on Mar 7.
China has used its power in the UN Security Council to thwart any move against Myanmar, despite international pressure on the Burmese government after the Aug 25 attacks on Rohingyas that forced over 700,000 of them to flee Bangladesh.
The UN has termed it ethnic cleansing.
The state minister requested support of China to respond “positively” to the international appeal that has been generated over the crisis.
The Chinese ambassador replied that both Myanmar and Bangladesh is “friendly” neighbour of China and China takes an “impartial” position on the issue.
He expressed “happiness” at the progress achieved between Bangladesh and Myanmar through bilateral engagement.
The state minister also expressed his concern at the provocative action of Myanmar on the border to destabilise the repatriation process as was agreed by bilateral instruments.
The ambassador, however, said that China is in communication with Myanmar and persuading them to act sincerely for repatriation of the displaced people of Rakhine State.
The ambassador recalled Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Bangladesh in October 2016 when the bilateral relationship was elevated to “Strategic Partnership of Cooperation”, and the consensus was reached to expand bilateral cooperation in some key areas.
He expressed his commitment to work with the government of Bangladesh to promote bilateral relations to a greater height through the implementation of the decisions reached through consensus between two leaders of China and Bangladesh during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Bangladesh.
Alam underlined the importance of close bilateral engagement between China and Bangladesh on the political front along with the economic partnership between the two countries.
He appreciated China’s deep interest in and continued support for the socio-economic progress of Bangladesh.
He sought the intervention of Chinese Ambassador for speedy implementation of infrastructure projects financed by China, especially he mentioned about two projects: Padma Bridge Rail Link and Expansion and Strengthening of Power System Network under Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) Area Project.
The state minister expressed optimism that development cooperation between Bangladesh and China will be driven by China’s Belt and Road and Initiative.
He recalled that Bangladesh is a founding member of China initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).