Bangabandhu’s dictum ‘friendship to all and malice towards none’ remains the bedrock of Bangladesh’s foreign policy, says Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping has said he will work with President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to strengthen the complementarities between two development strategies, advance Belt and Road cooperation and take the strategic partnership of cooperation to a new height.
“We must always remember what the elder generation of leaders did for growth of China-Bangladesh relations, and shall pass on the baton of the China-Bangladesh friendship to future generations,” he said.
In a pre-recorded speech placing high importance on growing China’s relations with Bangladesh, President Xi wished Bangladesh prosperity and its people happiness. “May the China-Bangladesh friendship last from generation to generation!”
The Chinese president made the remarks marking the celebration of Mujib Year and the golden jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh.
President Hamid, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Prime Minister Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana were present at the function held at the National Parade Ground.
The Chinese president said 50 years ago, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman founded the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. “A man who devoted his whole life to his country and people, he is fondly remembered by the people in Bangladesh to this day.”
He said the “Sonar Bangla” Bangabandhu envisioned is still galvanizing the 160 million Bangladeshi people in their pursuit of national rejuvenation.
‘Friendship to all, malice to none’
President Xi said the principle of “friendship to all and malice towards none” he laid out remains the bedrock of Bangladesh’s foreign policy.
“Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was an old and good friend of the Chinese people. On his two visits to China in 1952 and 1957, he forged friendships with Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai, and other Chinese leaders of the elder generation,” he said.
As a Chinese saying goes, Xi said: “Do not forget those who dug the well when drinking water from it.”
Over the five decades of independence, he said the people of Bangladesh have stayed true to their conviction and triumphed over challenges one after another.
Under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, President Xi said Bangladesh has focused on reform and development and entered a fast lane of growth.
“With a GDP growing more than six percent every year for year running, Bangladesh has bettered the lives of its own people and made important contributions to poverty reduction in the world. As a friendly neighbour, China rejoices at a prosperous and progressing Bangladesh,” he said.
46 years of friendship
President Xi said China and Bangladesh have always been friendly neighbours, with the ancient Silk Road standing as a witness to a friendship that spans over the millennia.
Since China and Bangladesh established diplomatic ties 46 years ago, the two sides have treated each other with mutual respect and as equals, he said.
“The two countries have supported each other and made progress together. Today, both countries are at a crucial stage of revitalization and development. The Chinese dream of great national renewal can well connect with the ‘Sonar Bangla’ dream,” he said.
“During my visit to Bangladesh in 2016, Prime Minister Hasina and I upgraded the bilateral ties to a strategic partnership of cooperation. Bangladesh is the first South Asian country to have signed with China an intergovernmental document on Belt and Road cooperation,” President Xi said.
He said the practical cooperation has delivered real benefits to the people of both countries and since Covid-19 struck, the two countries have stood together during these trying times.
“China will not forget that at the height of its fight against coronavirus, the Bangladeshi government and people donated a large quantity of medical supplies to China,” he said.
The Chinese president said China, too, has done what it could to assist the Covid-19 response in Bangladesh.
“Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, the two countries have continued to work together on Belt and Road cooperation. Key projects undertaken by Chinese companies, including the Padma Bridge and the Bangabandhu Tunnel under the Karnaphuli River, have seen big breakthroughs. As many as 97% of Bangladeshi products now enjoy duty-free access to China,” he said.