Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen had called his comment ‘an advanced one’
Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming on Wednesday met Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and explained his recent remarks on Dhaka-Beijing ties if Bangladesh joins Quad.
Masud Bin Momen while talking to Bangla Tribune, after the meeting, said: “After receiving half a million vaccines as a gift from China, we had a meeting with the [Chinese] ambassador. We sought an explanation for the recent remarks made by the ambassador."
The meeting was held at the state guesthouse Padma after the vaccine handover ceremony.
The secretary also said that the envoy explained his remarks. However, Masud did not give any further details on the matter.
Sources present at the meeting said Li Jiming called the issue “a failing of English language” and "out of context," according to media reports.
Also Read - FM Momen: China's comment on Quad an advance one
According to the Chinese ambassador, he did not "mean" what he said about the quad “or did not want to say it that way.”
On Wednesday, China gifted Bangladesh 500,000 Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines as a form of goodwill.
The ambassador and the secretary discussed different bilateral issues, including cooperation related to Covid-19 between the two countries, during the meeting, a senior Foreign Ministry official told UNB.
They also highlighted the importance of the growing relationship between the two countries.
On Monday, the Chinese ambassador at an event in Dhaka had said that Bangladesh should not join the US-led "Quad" and its relations with China will "substantially get damaged" if it does.
Dhaka had immediately reacted to Li Jiming’s remarks on Quad, an initiative of four countries- the United States, Japan, India and Australia.
Also Read - China: Joining Quad will harm Dhaka-Beijing ties
The next day, asked about the matter, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen had said that the envoy’s comment was “an advanced one.”
“Bangladesh will continue to maintain non-aligned and balanced foreign policy and it will decide what to do according to those principles,” Momen said.
He said usually China does not interfere in others' affairs and they did not see anyone saying anything in such an aggressive way. "It's very regrettable."
"Naturally, he [ambassador] represents a country. They can say what they want. Maybe they don't want it [Bangladesh's joining Quad]," Momen said, adding that no one from the organization that was mentioned did approach Bangladesh yet.
"We’re an independent and sovereign state. We decide our [own] foreign policy. But yes, any country can uphold its position," he told reporters, adding that they recall with respect what others say but did not expect such behaviour from China.