Dhaka's decision on deep seaport, satellite projects awaited: China

Dhaka’s decision on deep seaport, satellite projects awaited: China

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China is now waiting to know the government decision about two vital projects — building a deep seaport and launching Bangladesh’s first satellite ‘Bangabandhu Satellite’ in the space – as the world’s number two economy has already expressed its interest for the projects. “It’s for Bangladesh government to make its decision…also there’re different voices coming from the government side, so I keep silence,” Chinese Ambassador Li Jun told a country lecture session titled ‘China’s Development and China-Bangladesh Relationship’ in the city on Wednesday. He mentioned that these two projects and constructing an exhibition centre here were among the several important projects discussed during Bangladesh Prime Minister’s visit to China (in 2010). The government is examining the proposals of some countries to invest in the proposed deep seaport at Sonadia Island while the offer extended by China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) over the launch of the country’s first satellite is also under consideration. CGWIC is the sole commercial organisation authorised by the Chinese government to provide satellites, commercial launch services and to carry out international space cooperation. Regarding progress on the exhibition center, Jun said Chinese experts visited Bangladesh almost finalised the design. “It’s progressing but still there are things to be discussed.” Terming Bangladesh as the best destination for Chinese investment, the Chinese envoy said an exclusive EPZ for China will be much helpful for an easier access for the investors. “Let Chinese companies come here as they know the Chinese market’s need.” China is now restructuring its economy and the annual outbound Chinese investment has been around US$ 100 billions in the last few years. Quoting a Chinese importer, the diplomat said Bangladesh’s RMG export to China will climb to US$ 1-billion mark from the current US$ 100-million one within 3-5 years. “Thinking that the Chinese market for RMG is over US$ 200 billions and the labour cost skyrockets in China, I don’t think his prediction is unreasonable,” he added. Jun also talked about Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC) and mentioned that transportation connectivity will lay an important foundation. “But the economic corridor must not be confined in transportation.” The envoy said Bangladesh will play a decisive role and benefit most from the BCIM-EC. Terming Bangladesh a big power in South Asia, the envoy said China is ready to work with other countries in the region to build a peaceful, prosperous and open Asia and maintain peace, stability and tranquility in its neighborhood by enhancing ‘political mutual trust’. Responding to a question on maritime boundary dispute, he said, “China encourages different countries to find their solutions through peaceful dialogue. Bangladesh has successfully won a case with Myanmar. Peaceful dialogue is the best solution.” Asked about China’s views on US-Bangladesh security dialogue, he said China welcomes US-Bangladesh cooperation. “We’re very much positive…we hope every power inside and outside plays a peaceful role in this region through mutually beneficial cooperation.” He also said similar dialogue between Bangladesh and China has also been continuing. The envoy also said China is committed to peaceful development and said China will continue to promote the important projects of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road this year. “We should promote security dialogue and consultation, strengthen cooperation on non-traditional security issues, including disaster management, maritime search and rescue and counter terrorism.” Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) arranged the country lecture, the seventh of its kind its auditorium. BIISS Director General Maj Gen SM Shafiuddin Ahmed also spoke on the occasion with Chairman of BIISS Board of Governors Munshi Faiz Ahmad in the chair. Scholars, members of academia and former diplomats participated in the open discussion sessions. – UNB

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