Xi was received by his Bangladeshi counterpart, Abdul Hamid, and given a 21-gun salute at the airport. The host country dispatched fighter jets to escort Xi’s plane after it entered Bangladesh’s airspace.
Speaking highly of the long-standing traditional friendship between his country and Bangladesh, Xi said upon arrival that China attaches great importance to relations with Bangladesh and is ready to join hands with the country to lift their bilateral relations and practical cooperation to a higher level.
The friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Bangladesh not only serve the interests of both countries and peoples, but also have made positive contributions to peace, stability and development of the region as a whole, he said.
“I am looking forward to having in-depth and extensive exchanges of views with Bangladeshi leaders on bilateral ties and other issues of common concern, so as to draw up the blueprint for bilateral cooperation and jointly open up a new chapter for bilateral relations,” Xi said.
During the visit, Xi will meet with Hamid and National Assembly Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, and hold talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
China and Bangladesh, both being populous developing countries, have maintained a sound relationship since they established diplomatic ties in 1975. In 2010, Xi paid an official visit to the nation as vice president.
Though listed as one of the world’s least developed countries, Bangladesh has been witnessing robust economic growth over recent years and boasts tremendous market potential with a population of about 160 million.
Two-way trade between China and Bangladesh reached 14.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, up 17 percent year-on-year. China is currently Bangladesh’s largest trading partner, while Bangladesh is the third largest of China in South Asia.
Bangladesh, in dire need of capital for development, is a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The AIIB has approved 165 million dollars in loans for a Bangladeshi project — the first batch of loan for the country from the China-initiated development bank.
As an important cooperation partner of China in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, Bangladesh is working closely with China on the Belt and Road Initiative and an economic corridor linking the two countries as well as India and Myanmar.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Xi in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.
In an interview with Xinhua, Hasina expressed confidence that Xi’s visit would usher in “a new era of intensive cooperation” in trade, investment and other sectors between the two nations.
At a press briefing ahead of the trip, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou described the visit to Bangladesh as a “milestone.”
Xi met Hamid in November 2014 in Beijing. At the meeting, Hamid said Bangladesh expected to learn from China’s experience in poverty alleviation and seize the chance brought by the Belt and Road Initiative to promote trade and connectivity.
During Hasina’s visit to China in June 2014, she said Bangladesh will continue to support China firmly on issues involving its core interests and major concerns.
Bangladesh is the second leg of Xi’s visit, which already took him to Cambodia. He will also travel to the western Indian state of Goa for a summit of the emerging-market bloc of BRICS, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Before Xi left for Bangladesh, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen went to the hotel to see him off and congratulated him on the successful visit.
Xi voiced his belief that, with joint efforts, the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Cambodia would keep moving forward. – Xinhua
Special coverage on China's Two Party Sessions by The Daily Mail - People's Daily