Eastern Times correspondent, Dhaka,10 May: China has warned Bangladesh against any form of participation in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, better known as Quad, saying that it would “substantially damage” bilateral relations.
Quad is a “small group of elites” working against China, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said at an event organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh on Monday.
“Quad says it is only for economic purposes and security and so on. But that’s not true. We know that Quad is aimed at China.”
“Japan, together with the US, has stated it very clearly – they are participating in [Quad] because of China.”
First established in 2007, Quad is an informal strategic dialogue established between the US, Japan, Australia and India. The initiative is widely regarded as a response to the growing economic and military power of China.
“Obviously it will not be a good idea for Bangladesh to participate in this small club of four because it will substantially damage our bilateral relationship,” Jiming said.
The ambassador also raised the possibility of China aiding Bangladesh’s efforts on the Teesta River management project, stating that their involvement in the project would be ‘seriously considered’ once Bangladesh submitted a feasibility report.
The Bangladesh government had yet to formally propose that China take part in the project, he said.
The Teesta River management project would dredge and embank large portions of the river in order to form a single, manageable channel.
Jiming dismissed concerns that water sharing disputes between Bangladesh and India could affect the project.
“I think it is the legitimate right of Bangladeshi people to build this kind of project within the lower reach of a shared river,” he said. “If this was made in the upper reaches, you would have to consult the opinions of countries from the lower reaches. But as you are building it in the lower reaches, I don’t think there are any sensitive issues.”