Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping said he stands ready with Bangladesh leaders to better align the two countries’ strategies and jointly promote the construction of his multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to take the strategic partnership of the two countries to new heights.
Xi made the remarks in an exchange of congratulatory messages with his Bangladesh counterpart, Mohammad Abdul Hamid, on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral diplomatic relationship on Sunday.
In his message, Xi hailed the steady and long-term friendship saying he is ready to work with Hamid to better align development strategies with Bangladesh, step up cooperation under the framework of the BRI and push forward the China-Bangladesh strategic, cooperative partnership to a new level, official media reported.
With over USD 26 billion Chinese investments and USD 38 billion dollars funding commitments, Bangladesh is one of the largest recipients of China’s massive infrastructure project.
China has also offered zero-tariff treatment to 97 per cent of Bangladesh’s exports by adding 5,161 more items to the existing list of 3,095 duty-free products.
The BRI seeks to build rail, maritime and road links from Asia to Europe and Africa in a revival of ancient Silk Road trading routes.
The issues related to BRI, earlier known as One Belt One Road (OBOR), has been a major bone of contention between India and China as one portion of the corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Besides Pakistan, where China initiated over USD 60 billion as part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China has stepped up its huge infrastructure investments in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives rising concerns of its growing influence in India’s immediate neighbourhood.
The BRI is President Xi’s top priority initiative, which aims firm up China’s global influence.