China offers blank cheque to Bangla for uplifting socio-eco status

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Dhaka, Apr 24 (UNI) China today offered a blank cheque to Bangladesh for its socio-economic development, as Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi marked off his visit handing out some immediate help in cash and kind.

''Whatever you think is in the interest of socioeconomic development of Bangladesh, China will be more than glad to extend cooperation within its capacity,'' the Chinese Foreign Minister told a press conference after talks with Foreign Advisor of the caretaker government Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury.

Mr Jiechi, who flew in here today on a two-day official visit, announced 60 million RMB in free aid for Bangladesh this year and a token grant of five lakh RMB to mark his first trip to Dhaka as FM of his neo-rich socialist country.

The formal meet was also followed by the signing of an Exchange of Notes for construction of Bangladesh-China Exhibition Centre in Dhaka at a cost of Tk 189 crore.

''This would be a landmark of our cooperation,'' Mr Jiechi said, adding that China earlier had provided assistance in building six friendship bridges, Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Hall and establishment of a fertiliser plant.

At the talks, he said, both the sides agreed to expand further political, economic, trade and cultural cooperation.

Mr Jiechi said they agreed to maintain high-level exchanges and contacts, and see how to increase import of Bangladeshi goods as the balance of bilateral trade is heavily inclined towards Beijing.

China would welcome more students from Bangladesh and cultural inflow between Dhaka and Beijing, he told the journalists.

The Chinese Foreign Minister invited Chief Advisor Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed to Beijing in the later part of this year. Details of the visit would be worked out.

''We encourage more exchanges in the international and regional affairs,'' he said, adding China would continue to see Bangladesh playing a larger and important role on regional and international planes.

At the talks, Dhaka and Beijing agreed to work more vigorously in promoting the interests of developing countries.

The visiting Foreign Minister appreciated Bangladesh's firm support to one-China policy, Chinese government's handling of the situation in Tibet, protecting the interest of the people in Tibet and successful holding of the Olympics in Beijing.

''This reflects Bangladesh is a true friend of China,'' Mr Jiechi said.

In reply to a question regarding human rights violation in Tibet, he said the Dalai clique instigated violence killing 20 innocent people, burning and damaging public property.

In this situation, he added, no responsible government could sit idle when people's life and property have been hurt.

The Chinese government has taken action in accordance with the Chinese laws to protect life and property in Tibet, he noted.

The Chinese Foreign Minister said it is to be seen whether it is question of human rights, religious freedom and nationality problem. It is to be seen whether one seeks consolidation of the Chinese territory or split up China.

Mr Jiechi said more than two-thirds countries of the world supported China's principled stand on Tibet, but it was not widely reported by international media.

He said Beijing Olympics is not a Chinese thing - this is the pride of Asia and the pride of the world. Successful holding of the Olympic Games would be the pride of brothers and sisters of Asia and the world.

''We will uphold the spirit of the Olympic - peace, friendship and cooperation,'' he said, adding the Olympic games should not be politicised.

Earlier, the Foreign Advisor said Bangladesh and China have excellent relationship developed over the years.

''We have useful discussions on consolidating this relationship,'' he said, adding that they discussed cooperation in all fields and China's ongoing and future support to Bangladesh.

Mr Iftekhar said this visit would make a watershed point and a significant milestone in unfolding the relationship between the two countries.


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