China, Bangladesh pledge to build economic corridor

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Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed in Beijing on Tuesday and both pledged to make joint efforts to build an economic corridor linking Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed in Beijing, capital of China, June 10, 2014. [Ding Lin/Xinhua] 

"Bangladesh is an important country along the Maritime Silk Road," Xi said during the meeting, noting that China welcomes the Bangladeshi side's participation in the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, while pushing ahead with the economic corridor.

The moves will help to build a community of shared interests between China and Bangladesh, and benefit the people of the two countries and the region at large, according to the Chinese leader.

The concepts of the belt and maritime route were firstly proposed by Xi last year. The Silk Road connected China and Europe from around 100 B.C., while the Maritime Silk Road was used by Chinese merchants to transport silk, ceramics and tea to overseas markets.

Echoing Xi's proposal on the belt and maritime route, Wajed said the four-nation economic corridor is of great significance for the development of South Asia and that her country will play an active role in its construction.

According to a joint statement, the two sides recognized that the development of the corridor would constitute an important vehicle to complement various regional connectivity initiatives and provide an important avenue for strengthening cooperation and sustainable development.

China and Bangladesh agreed to remain actively engaged towards the development of the corridor along with other countries, and expressed their hope of realizing mutually beneficial and result-oriented cooperation among the four countries, said the statement.

During the meeting, Xi said China attaches great importance to its ties with Bangladesh and regards the country as an important cooperative partner in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.

As 2015 will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relationship, Xi proposed the two sides hold various events to celebrate the anniversary and boost cooperation in multiple areas to cement their partnership.

Xi also expressed China's support for Bangladesh's development path and pledged to share technology and experience to reduce poverty and help spur its economy.

Hailing the traditional friendship, Wajed said she looks forward to closer cooperation with China in Bangladesh's push to eliminate poverty and make itself a middle-income country in 2021.

Bangladesh will continue to support China firmly on issues involving its core interests and major concerns, said the Bangladeshi prime minister.

Wajed is making an official visit to China from June 6 to 11 at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. During the visit, she also attended the second China-South Asia Expo in Kunming of southwest China's Yunnan Province.

During Wajed's visit, she and the Chinese premier witnessed the signing of a string of deals regarding economic and technical cooperation, feasibility study of flood prevention and management in Bangladesh, and the construction of a multi-lane road tunnel project under the River Karnaphuli.

In Tuesday's joint statement, China and Bangladesh also pledged to step up cooperation in such areas as trade, investment, finance, agriculture, technology innovation, health, education, transportation and infrastructure building.

The Chinese side pledged to encourage its companies to invest in Bangladesh and participate in the country's development of communication, energy, transportation and infrastructure, said the statement. 

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