President of China Xi Jinping and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina delivered their important keynote speeches online at the recently-concluded Boao Forum on the southern island of Hainan, China. Both the leaders have, in their speeches, emphasized the need for deepening cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on all respective fronts of the two countries.
President Xi said that BRI is a public road open to all, not a private path owned by one single party. All interested countries are welcome aboard to take part in the cooperation and share in its benefits. BRI cooperation pursues development, aims at mutual benefits, and conveys a message of hope.
The Chinese president said, “We will continue to work with other parties in high-quality BRI cooperation and follow the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, and champion the philosophy of open, green, and clean cooperation, in a bid to make the cooperation high-standard, people-centered and sustainable.”
He mentioned that China will build a closer partnership for openness and inclusiveness. His country will act in the spirit of openness and inclusiveness as we work with all willing participants to build the BRI into a pathway to poverty alleviation and growth, which will contribute positively to the common prosperity of humankind.
President Xi further mentioned that his country will build a closer partnership for connectivity. China will work with all sides to promote ‘hard connectivity’ of infrastructure and ‘soft connectivity’ of rules and standards, ensure unimpeded channels for trade and investment cooperation, and actively develop Silk Road e-commerce, all in a bid to open up a bright prospect for integrated development.
“We will build a closer partnership for green development and could strengthen cooperation on green infrastructure, green energy, and green finance, and improve the BRI International Green Development Coalition, the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road Development, and other multilateral cooperation platforms to make green a defining feature of Belt and Road cooperation,” he added.
Echoing the voice of the Chinese president at the forum, Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh is uniquely placed to connect the regions of South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and beyond through multi-modal linkages and believes that BRI could play an important role in this regard.
The Prime Minister also emphasized the need for strengthening the global and regional partnerships through coordinated efforts to address the current challenges, adding “Let’s think together, work together and grow together.”
Sheikh Hasina also mentioned that under the current state of globalization, every country has to do its part for common good. The nations and economies will have to look out for each other, as no single country in this world can sustain on its own.
The prime minister said, “This continent has the advantage of huge demographic dividend, vast markets, and the technological edge. If we join hands, together we can grow faster. This will also help us achieve the SDGs that we all committed to fulfilling.”
She further mentioned that seamless physical and digital connectivity will be the key to reap the benefits of the Asian Century.
We can see that both the leaders have reached conclusions that BRI can play an important role in enhancing regional connectivity. They have paid importance to forge ahead bilateral and multilateral cooperation for the prosperity of the continent. That’s why both the speeches have widely been welcomed by people of all walks of life both in China and Bangladesh.
After such consensus made by both leaders, the peoples of the two countries want to reap more dividends from the BRI. They expect to see more pragmatic and win-win engagements between the two nations in the coming days.
People of Bangladesh are, particularly, looking for more investments in various vibrant sectors of their country. They also want the accesses of export items of Bangladesh to increase to the Chinese markets.
They want China to offer more jobs and scholarships to Bangladeshi students and skilled workforces. As the pandemic continues to take a toll on their health and economy, Bangladeshis are waiting for getting Chinese vaccines very soon.
As the BRI is established on the principle of win-win cooperation, the people of China also want further stepping up of Dhaka-Beijing bilateral cooperation under the initiative to benefit from trade and business and investments in Bangladesh.
Finally, Bangladesh and China enjoy historically good ties. Their relationship has turned into a strategic partnership under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Xi Jinping. Now the two peoples expect further engagements of both the countries based on the consensus made by their leaders.
I firmly believe that their expectations will be fulfilled sooner as they are very relevant and beneficial for both sides. It’s high time for the officials and concerned people of the two countries to come forward to taking concrete measures in this regard, respecting the expectations of their people in line with the consensus.
- Md Enamul Hassan is a news editor and broadcast journalist at China Media Group (CMG) in Beijing, China.