Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Zhang Zuo yesterday expressed hope that Bangladesh's next national election would go very “well and smooth”.
“We hope you'll have a very smooth election. Bangladeshis and the political parties can have that,” he told reporters after attending a dialogue at a city hotel.
The envoy said Bangladesh and China would further deepen political, economic and people-to-people relationship.
Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Cosmos Group, hosted the dialogue titled “Bangladesh-China Relations: Prognosis for the Future.”
Speaking at the programme as chief guest, Zuo made five suggestions for deepening the Bangladesh-China strategic partnership of cooperation.
“First, we need to deepen strategic mutual trust and then we need to deepen economic integration,” the diplomat said.
He also suggested deepening innovation and interaction; having stronger cooperation on experience sharing on security; and enhancing cultural and people's connectivity.
“We should join hands to become good partners with equality and mutual trust. We should work together to improve the level of global governance,” Zhang Zuo said.
About the Rohingya issue, the ambassador said China would continue to play a constructive role in properly solving the problem of Rakhine state in accordance with the three-phase solution to stop violence, ensure repatriation and development.
He said China would continue to support Bangladesh and Myanmar to find a proper way for the repatriation of the displaced people, as well as a proper solution to the Rakhine issue through dialogue and consultation.
On security, Zuo said the next decade would see a profound reshaping of the global governance system and the international security situation.
“China and Bangladesh are neighbours who look out for each other during either safe or disturbing times.”
He said the two countries should work together to be good partners for peace and cooperation.
On deepening economic integration, the envoy said the next 10 years would be a decade of transition from the old to new growth drivers in world economy, as well as of profound adjustments and reforms.
“Both China and Bangladesh have highly prosperous markets that attract businessmen from all over the world. Faced with opportunities and challenges, we should join hands to become good partners of mutual benefits. Let's work together to promote free trade.”
Zuo said the two countries should accelerate the feasibility study for China-Bangladesh FTA (Free Trade Agreement), and then start the negotiation as soon as possible for fruitful outcomes.
He said they would complete the exchange of letters for zero-tariff treatment to 97 percent of tariff items exported from Bangladesh to China within a short time, to further boost Bangladeshi's export to Chinese market.
Experts from both the countries attended the symposium. They assessed the Bangladesh-China relationship in the present context and identified the challenges and opportunities.
Chairman of Cosmos Foundation Enayetullah Khan delivered the welcome speech at the programme, chaired by former caretaker government adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury.