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Futile for US to woo Bangladesh to oppose China: Chinese envoy

Easterntimes, Special Correspondent, Dhaka, 31 October: The US is trying to drive a wedge between China and Bangladesh by strengthening its efforts to woo the latter to join its anti-China campaign, China’s top diplomat to Bangladesh told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Friday.

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said that in the context of the ever-intensifying tensions between China and the US, the US has frequently adopted various methods to go against China in a range of areas.

“The root cause of US’ anxiety is that the US cannot accept China’s rapid development and peaceful rise. Some [US] politicians are trying to restart the ‘Cold War,’ coercing other countries to join the anti-China camp to interrupt China’s development process,” Li said.

On June 29, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a phone call with Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen. In September, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper spoke with Bangladesh Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Hasina over the phone, clearly proposing to strengthen US-Bangladesh defense cooperation.

In mid-October, US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun visited Bangladesh and held meetings with Prime Minister Hasina and other key government officials, attempting to sell the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” to Bangladesh.

These meetings show the US has made continuous moves with ulterior motives, Li said.

“I want to emphasize that China has the wisdom and ability to escape the so-called Thucydides Trap and urge some anti-China politicians in the US to abandon their outdated Cold War and zero-sum game mentality,” the ambassador stressed.

The US will eventually have more people of insight who can correctly view China and China-US relations, and push bilateral relations back to the right track of coordination, cooperation and stability and actively contributing to global development, he noted.

Analyzing if Bangladesh’s diplomacy faces the reality of having to choose a side, Li said that China unswervingly pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, has no fundamental conflicts with any particular country at all, including the US and India. China always advocates seeking common ground while reserving differences in the process of handling bilateral disputes and has never forced other countries to choose sides.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has always been pursuing a foreign policy of “friends to all and malice to none” and has maintained friendly exchanges with countries around the world.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the international situation, increasingly fierce China-US tensions and the outbreak of the China-India border conflicts have caused some changes in the external environment for Bangladesh, which will inevitably endure pressure from the US and other parties in its foreign exchanges, Li said.

The main responsibility for this reality lies in the fact that the US still holds an outdated idea of “either friend or foe,” rejects multilateralism and the correct concept of shared development, and openly coerces countries in all regions of the world to choose sides when they develop bilateral relations with China.

“Here I would like to reiterate that enthusiasm for hegemonism and power politics will not help solve the common challenges in the world today, nor will it be accepted by the international community,” Li stressed.

Every country has the right to pursue an independent foreign policy and independently develop foreign relations based on their national interests, Li said.

“I have noticed that at a recent UN meeting, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina clearly stated support for multilateralism and an international governance system centered on the UN,” said the ambassador.

This fully demonstrates that Bangladesh will maintain strategic determination and continue to adhere to multilateralism, advocate win-win cooperation and safeguard China-Bangladesh mutually beneficial cooperation from interference from external factors, which is in line with the fundamental interests of the Bangladeshi people and also in line with the major trend of the times, he said.

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