China wants the upcoming elections to be participatory
Ahead of the 11th national elections, BNP’s new foreign policy is attaching priority to boosting commercial ties with China, the world’s second largest economy..
The party top brass has also expressed interest in implementing the agreements signed with China, according to sources at the party’s diplomatic wing.
However, the party wants China’s role in internal politics, but has decided to stay silent publicly on the issue, reports Bangla Tribune.
BNP will be more active to further improve commercial and political relations between the two countries, they said.
In March, the new Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Zhang Zuo, said Beijing is keeping an eye on Bangladesh politics. China wants the upcoming elections to be participatory, the envoy said.
Sources said BNP will formulate a `balanced foreign policy and strategy’ considering `India’s interest’in the silk route. India’s Prime Minister visited China earlier this week.
An international affairs secretary, preferring anonymity, said: “Commercial ties between Bangladesh and China will be expanded. Deals signed during the Awami League government’s tenure will be implemented.”
BNP’s diplomatic sources said the party will try to make China interested in BNP and to do so it will move to seek assistance in building deep sea ports and other infrastructures.
Nowshad Jamil, international affairs secretary of BNP, said: “The perspective on China is most important in order to build profound ties with them. BNP believes in a `One China Principle’ while Awami League believes in the `One China Policy.’
“Former president Ziaur Rahman believed in a `One China Principle’ which is why China should show interest in BNP,” said the BNP leader.
Back in 1976, BNP founder and then president, Ziaur Rahman, took the initiative to build friendly relations with China.
“China has wonderful relations not only with BNP, but also with Bangladesh. They are providing us assistance for economic development, thanks to the initiative of Ziaur Rahman,” said Standing Committee Member Lt Gen (Retd) Mahbubur Rahman.
In his article titled ‘Four Decades of Foreign Policy,’ Jahangirnagar University Professor, Tarek Shamsur Rahman, said: “Ziaur Rahman played a vital role in developing bilateral relations with China. He not only boosted ties with China but also made China’s presence essential in the country’s foreign policy.”
Prof Tarek said during BNP’s terms in 1991-96 and 2001-06, Khaleda Zia also gave priority to improving relations with China in her foreign policies.
BNP diplomatic sources think China should be engaged in resolving the current Rohingya crisis. But the party top brass anticipates India might be unhappy with this stance.
However, BNP wants China’s intervention in economic and political issues even if it cannot seek their assistance in resolving the Rohingya crisis.
Prof Tarek said in his article: “China’s foreign policy is based on business. Ideology is not given priority here. So the country is showing interest in boosting investment and building a deep sea port in Bangladesh from its business perspective.”
A BNP international wing leader said: “We can seek assistance from the UN, US, or Europe in establishing democracy but we cannot seek China’s assistance on the matter. BNP has nothing to get from China in the upcoming elections.”
Diplomatic sources at BNP said the party’s relations with China worsened over the opening of the Taiwan consulate in Dhaka during the BNP-led alliance government’s 2001-06 tenure.
But the crisis was over after BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia visited China as the opposition chief in 2012.
BNP Central Organizing Secretary ShamaObayed, also a member of the diplomatic corps, said: “The crisis was over as we applied diplomatic strategy. Then China hosted a VIP reception for Khaleda Zia when she visited the country.”
BNP Chairperson’s media wing member said Khaleda Zia visited China in October 2012 at the invitation of the country’s Communist Party. She met with state leaders and top leaders of the Communist Party.
After her visit, BNP announced that Chinese leaders had assured her of investment in constructing the second Padma Bridge.
BNP leader Mahbubur said BNP’s relations with China are quite normal now, following the the party chief’svisit.
ShamaObayed said: “China’s foreign policy is non-interfering. They do not interfere in the internal politics of other countries. Rather, they are more interested in business.”
“China has maintained bilateral relations with all governments of Bangladesh. We hope they will maintain relations with BNP as well,” the BNP leader said.