Ambassador Li discusses the significance of the recent visit to Bangladesh of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Mr Wang Yi and what it means for bilateral relations.
What has been achieved during the visit of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi to Bangladesh?
Ambassador Li: China and Bangladesh are amicable neighbours and strategic partners of cooperation. The visit of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi aims at continuing traditional friendship and upgrading mutually beneficial cooperation.
Upon arrival in Dhaka, Mr. Wang first visited Bangabandhu Memorial Museum, where he recalled the history of friendly interactions between the two countries, and felt the solid historical, social and people-to-people bases for our bilateral relationship.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appreciated the Chinese side for the tribute to Bangabandhu and highlighted that Bangladesh cherishes friendship with China.
She underscored that Bangladesh sees China as an important partner for maintaining peace and achieving common development, and it is an irreplaceable option for Bangladesh to deepen solidarity and cooperation with China. Bangladesh will stick to the one-China principle and see Taiwan as an integral part of Chinese territory.
The two sides agreed to strengthen mutual political trust. Based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, we support each other to defend independence, national dignity and core interests, and to follow a development path suited to our respective national conditions. We are willing to keep exchange on the governance of the country.
The two sides agreed to have even closer coordination on development strategies. The Belt and Road Initiative and the Vision 2041 perspective plan will integrate further.
Cooperation will be deepened in the fields of infrastructure, digital economy, green development and so on. In order to further encourage Bangladesh’s export to China, the Chinese side announced duty-free treatment of 98% tariff lines goods originating from Bangladesh.
The two sides agreed to tighten social and cultural exchange. We signed a new culture and tourism exchange program and decided to elevate exchange and cooperation on poverty reduction. China welcomes Bangladeshi students to return to China to resume studies. Flights between the two countries will be increased gradually.
Through the visit, China and Bangladesh renewed commitments to traditional friendship, reiterated the one-China principle, agreed to deepen strategic integration, and further enhanced practical cooperation, thereby jointly infusing the power of stability to the region and beyond against an uneasy international environment. The visit was fruitful and of great success.
The Chinese foreign minister has announced the resumption of student visas. How many students are now pursuing higher studies in China? What can be done to increase the flow?
Ambassador Li: According to the data of the Chinese Ministry of Education, in 2019 (before the Covid-19 outbreak), a total of about 15,000 Bangladeshi students were enrolled in Chinese higher education institutions, and a good portion of them received Chinese government scholarships, and most of the others received funding from other Chinese scholarships (provinces, municipalities, universities, Silk Road Scholarships, Confucius Institute Scholarships, etc.). There were also self-financed students, though the proportion of this category is estimated to be low.
Recently, the Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh announced the resumption of student visas and has started related work, including posting “Tips for Bangladeshi Students Returning to Chinese Campuses” and processing students’ online application materials.
Since the announcement, the first visa to a Bangladeshi student was issued on August 9. We will continue to expedite this work and strive to help more Bangladeshi students return to Chinese campuses as soon as possible.