Speech at the Inauguration Ceremony of Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum

H.E. Mr. Zhang Zuo

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh

18 May 2019


H.E. Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Adviser to the Hon'ble Prime Minister on International Affairs,

H.E. Dilip Barua, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Bangladesh,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Asalam alaikum and good morning.

It's a great pleasure for me to attend the inauguration ceremony of Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum. I'd like to extend my warm welcome to all of you present here, my congratulations to the inception of the Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum, and my high regards to all the guests here who are committed to China-Bangladesh friendship.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world today is witnessing changes unprecedented in the past 100 years. Global multi-polarization, economic globalization, social digitalization and cultural diversification are advancing further, with the rise of emerging markets and developing countries, which are altering the global balance of power as well as reshaping the theories and practices in international relations day by day. In face of the stern global challenges, and the choices to be made at the development cross road of mankind, while the trend of peace, development, and win-win cooperation is getting stronger, unilateralism and protectionism are also on an incessant rise, challenging the existing international order and global governance system. The world is encountered with the uncertainty of unilateralism or multilateralism, confrontation or conversation, and self isolation or opening up. And it requires solidarity of all countries to jointly address the risks derived from uncertainty.

Under such a background, with the historical development of the human society in mind and a keen sense of responsibility as the leader of a major country, Chinese President Xi Jinping reflected deeply on the important subjects that are critically relevant to the future of mankind, including "what happened to the world" and "what should we do from here". With the broad vision and strategic thinking of a great statesman and strategist, he put forward a series of visionary new ideas, theories and initiatives with Chinese characteristics that embody the spirit of our times and envision greater human progress, and promote d a series of China's influential diplomatic practices. He formed Xi Jinping's Thought on Diplomacy, which is  a fundamental guide to the conduct of China's external relations in the new era, a significant theoretical contribution to the world from contemporary China, and a distinctive flag under which China is leading the trend of our times and the progress of human civilization.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Under the guidance of Xi Jinping's Thought on Diplomacy, China gives high emphasis to neighborhood diplomacy, and has formulated the policy of neighborhood diplomacy based on our diplomatic practice, so as to enhance the mutual understanding between China and our neighboring countries including Bangladesh. Taking this opportunity, I'd like to share with you some of my ideas on China's diplomatic practice in the neighboring countries, from the perspective of Xi Jinping's Thought on Diplomacy, in the following aspects,.

First, building a community of shared future for mankind. President Xi Jinping has expound and championed for building a community of shared future for mankind on various international occasions. Its core is to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world with enduring peace, common development, and sustained prosperity. The preconditions and pathway to this community is a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, justice, and win-win cooperation. To build a community of shared future for mankind is the general goal of China's diplomatic work in the new era, as well as a contribution of China to solving the problems faced by mankind.

The neighboring countries and China are close to each other both geographically and culturally, and we share common interests. So China sees its neighbors as the priority in the efforts to build a community of shared future for mankind, and pays attention to accommodating their desires for development in the process. President Xi Jinping keeps true to his words of having more communication of feelings and mutual visits with neighbors, as he works to strengthen the high-level strategic communication and mutual trust between China and India in order to lead China-India relations to develop in the right direction, promotes the friendship and win-win cooperation with South Asian countries, and encourages the engagement of neighboring countries in major diplomatic events hosted by China for them to make the most out of it in events like the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the Boao Forum for Asia. It has cleared a path for China and the rest of the world towards common development.

Second, building the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2013, President Xi Jinping put forward the major initiative to jointly build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The BRI cooperation will be the overarching plan for China's opening up for a long time to come, and also an important platform to implement ideas for the community of shared future for mankind.

President Xi Jinping likened the BRI as the two wings of a soaring Asia. He also stressed that the main partners of the Belt and Road Initiative are China's neighbors, and they will be the first to benefit from it. We welcome all our neighbors to get engaged in the cooperation, and jointly contribute to the BRI. Under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, China will enhance its connectivity with the neighboring countries in policy, infrastructure, trade, financing and people-to-people bond. After having laid out the general structure of the BRI, we will further focus on the key projects in neighboring areas, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the BCIM Economic Corridor. A large group of industrial parks and trans-border economic cooperation zones have been set up one after another in the surrounding region. Financial institutions initiated by China, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, have been up and running. With selective focuses and attention to details, China is working with our neighbors to forge cooperation platforms and build the BRI with high quality.

Third, adhering to the path of peaceful development. As President Xi Jinping stated in his report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China continues its commitment to peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, and to a fundamental foreign policy goal of preserving world peace and common development. The path of peaceful development is the long-term basic principle of Chinese diplomacy, as well as the commitment and responsibility of the Communist Party of China to the future of the world.

China has always been a champion for world peace, a contributor to global development and a protector for international order. It plays an active role as a responsible major power, advocates for an Asian Security Concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, proactively promotes bilateral and multilateral defense and law enforcement cooperation, and insists on dialogue and negotiation as the proper solution to disputes. It has been playing a constructive role in solving hot spot issues with Chinese solutions that aim at long-term stability, such as mediating in the Afghan issue. We also proposed the 3-phase solution of ending violence, repatriation and development for the issue of Rakhine State in Myanmar, brokered informal tri-partite meetings between Bangladesh, Myanmar and China, and encouraged Bangladesh and Myanmar to reach consensus in principle on the repatriation of the Rohingyas, demonstrating China's sense of responsibility for regional peace and stability.

Fourth, playing a constructive role in global governance. President Xi Jinping clearly pointed out in his report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that China will stay committed to the vision of consultation, cooperation and benefit for all in global governance, and get actively involved in the reform and construction of global governance system by offering its vision and input. To constructively participating in the global governance is an important goal for Chinese diplomacy in the new era, as well as a significant contribution of China to world peace and development.

As we are faced with increasing global challenges, no country, however powerful it might be, can run the world or govern the international society by itself. President Xi Jinping advocates for the democratization of international relations, and stresses on the equality among countries regardless of their sizes, power or wealth. China is committed to safeguarding UN's central role in international affairs, to maintaining the multilateral trade system with the WTO at its core and rules and regulations as its foundation, to keeping up the trend of regional integration, and to supporting more engagement from the developing countries in the global governance system for a wider representation and a bigger say that are consistent to their status and influence. We hope to see the benefits of global governance to be shared by people from all classes and nations.

Fifth, building a global network of partnerships. President Xi Jinping actively promotes the partnership spirit, emphasizing "a single flower does not herald spring; a lone goose cannot make a formation", and that "there's no future for those who confine themselves to the lone island of self-isolation". At the opening ceremony of the 2nd BRF, President Xi Jinping proposed to build a global network of partnerships and to realize common development and prosperity. To actively build a global network of partnerships is an important content of Chinese diplomacy in the new era, as well as a sound basis and a key precondition for the world to practice multilateralism and international cooperation.

Taking neighbors and major powers as priorities, developing countries as the basis, and multilateral platforms as the stage, China is actively developing the global network of partnerships, and expanding the converging points of common interests with all parties. Following the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, and the neighborhood diplomacy of friendship and partnership with neighboring countries, China will uphold justice in the pursuit of interests, and enhance cooperation and solidarity with developing countries with truthfulness, sincerity and honesty. As President Xi Jinping said for many times, "people hope the best for their kinsmen and their neighbors", and "a close neighbor is dearer than a distant relative", we should build a network of partnerships in the Asian-Pacific region. China will strongly support cultural and people-to-people exchanges with neighboring countries, and extensively carry out cooperation in all areas including science and technology, education, culture, art, sports, local development, media and youth, so as to build bridges of people-to-people bond.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

China and Bangladesh are good friends and neighbors. Bangladesh is an important partner for China in the BRI and in production capacity cooperation in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region from every angle, including its location, the size of its population, it market potential and the cooperation scope. During Chinese President Xi Jinping's successful state visit in October, 2016, he and the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina elevated the China-Bangladesh relationship to a Strategic Partnership of Cooperation, which started a new chapter in our strategic cooperation, and deepened our pragmatic cooperation under the BRI. China remains the largest trading partner to Bangladesh, while in 2018, Bangladesh became an important trading partner to China in South Asia, and the biggest market for engineering contracts signed. Our bilateral trade reached 18.74 billion USD, up by 16.8% year on year. Chinese investment to Bangladesh stood at 310 million USD, marking an increase of 396%. Chinese Shenzhen-Shanghai Stock Exchange consortium, Ant Finance and Union Pay International have stepped up their collaborations with the Bangladeshi side, and the number of Chinese companies registered at the commercial section of the Embassy has exceeded 300, spanning from RMG, infrastructure, power and energy to finance, agriculture and telecommunication. Our all-round cooperation is booming in all sectors like politics, economy, military, agriculture, law enforcement, science and technology and culture.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum is being established at the right moment when there's a lot to be achieved. Bangladesh's diplomatic policy of "friend to all, malice to none", and President Xi Jinping's Thought on Diplomacy, both have provided new opportunities and new ideas for win-win cooperation for our two countries. Bangladeshi people's dream of a strong and wealthy nation, manifested in the dream of Sonar Bangla, and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation pursued by the Chinese people, are interconnected and share many common merits. I hope the Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum could pay attention to telling good stories about China-Bangladesh friendship, passing on the voices in the communication and exchanges between our two countries, and building this forum into an important bridge for China-Bangladesh connectivity. Particularly, as next year will mark the 45th anniversary of China-Bangladesh diplomatic ties, we need to work together to create a congenial atmosphere for cooperation, and deepen our policy connectivity and people-to-people bond, so as to bring more benefits to both our peoples, and push the China-Bangladesh relations into a better new era.

Thank you. Dhonnobud.

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