China’s rise generates greater responsibility towards world, he says

Shedding lights on the growing importance of Bangladesh, a leading Chinese scholar on Wednesday said Bangladesh voice should be heard loud and clear inside China instead of "Bangladesh deficit in China."

"It's the responsibility of Bangladesh to promote itself to China. Let Bangladesh's voice be heard in China. This is very important," said Dr Ruan Zongze, Executive Vice President of China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).

The globally renowned intellectual made the remarks while delivering the keynote address at the latest Cosmos Dialogue, titled "China's Role in the Contemporary World", at Cosmos Centre here highlighting the global challenges and opportunities ahead keeping people's welfare in mind.

Putting much emphasis on Bangladesh perspective, Dr Zongze said they should do more as scholars.

Principal Research Fellow of the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore, former adviser, and President of Cosmos Foundation Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury chaired the seminar.

Cosmos Group Chairman Amanullah Khan delivered the welcome remarks at the seminar hosted by Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bangladeshi conglomerate Cosmos Group.

Former secretary Enam Ahmed Chowdhury, former foreign secretaries Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury and Md Touhid Hossain, among others, spoke at the event.

Diplomats, university teachers and senior journalists were present.

The CIIS scholar who contributes to Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on policy issues, said China and Bangladesh should do two things together -- reinforcing this relationship and collaborating more on key issues.

He said there is no lack of political commitment from two sides -- Bangladesh and China.

Dr Zongze said Bangladesh's vision for future is very ambitious and very useful to understand what Bangladesh is going to be. "It needs international collaboration (to achieve its development goals)."

He said Bangladesh is now in the right direction and it deserves a better future; and laid emphasis on more grassroots-level engagements between the two countries.

Responding to a question on Rohingya issue, he said it is not true that China is not taking a balanced approach to the issue.

"It's essentially a problem between Bangladesh and Myanmar. It's a bilateral issue. Bangladesh and Myanmar need to work it out," said the Chinese scholar, adding that he does not think China is more pro-Myanmar or more pro-Bangladesh.

Touching on global challenges, the scholar said the "peaceful rise" of China generates greater responsibility instead of confrontation with anybody.

On US-China trade war and Trump administration's additional tariffs on China's imports, Dr Zongze said this is terrible news for the global economy and supply chain.

Stressing that nobody can stop China, the Chinese scholar focused on four areas in his 30-minute speech -- BRI, China's policy towards Asia Pacific, China-US relationship and China-Bangladesh relationship.

He said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the demonstration of its greater responsibility to the world as a big power.

The Chinese scholar laid emphasis on both hard connectivity and soft connectivity (with more people-to-people engagement and policy coordination).

He also talked about Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor and its expeditious implementation, concerns over Muslims in Xinxiang province, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's upcoming China visit and China's relations with India which he thinks will significantly improve in the coming days.

Dr Iftekhar said the BRI perhaps flows from China Dream and it is a trillion-dollar economic, diplomatic and geological undertaking to revive China's ancient trade routes.

He said the developing world applauds China for its efforts to lift those societies through initiative like BRI and improve their destiny. "China-Bangladesh cooperation is a testimony to that."

The foreign affairs expert, however, said the BRI is not without problems and there are partners who fear a rising debt-issue.

"The problems of Hambantota port, the next door in Sri Lanka, come to mind. But China deserves credit for recognising this," Dr Iftekhar added.

Cosmos Group Chairman Amanullah Khan said China's expanding sphere of influence and dominant role in the world stage is destined to grow further because of the vastness of its territory, abundant resources, size of population, economic clout that has made it world's second largest economy next only to the US and poised to overtake the US soon.

He said China's military might, advancement in science and technology, its geo-political, strategic location and its status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council have also boosted its international image.

In a complete reversal of its past compulsive, inward-looking and isolationist stance of "hide your strength, bide your time and never take a lead" China has now switched to a pragmatic, progressive and outward-looking policy, setting its sight on a world view, actively asserting its interests and shaping its destiny, he mentioned.

Khan said most of the economic gains being made by China are filtering down to the bottom layer to foster an inclusive, just and equitable society.

He said committed to protecting the environment and containing the greenhouse gas emission, China has become the world's renewable energy superpower setting an example for other countries to replicate.

Khan said the symposium was very appropriately timed for two compelling reasons.

"Firstly as you are aware our honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be undertaking a trip to China in July. It will definitely represent a prominent milestone in forging our bilateral relations on a firmer footing. I do hope the discussions that will follow will serve as a curtain raiser to our Prime Minister's historic visit," he said.

Secondly, Khan mentioned that the thoughts and ideas emerging from the dialogue will highlight and underline China's unique role in the present day world as a rising poer and a force to reckon with.

He said despite China's impressive array of military hardware which is intended as a deterrent rather than as weapon of war and attack, China believes in using its soft power and charm offensive in the resolution of disputes and conflicts through negotiation and diplomacy.

Home to the world's one of the oldest civilizations, Khan said, China is a treasure trove of cultural heritages, architectural splendours, natural wonders and a rich repository of history at different eras of China's development.

These dialogues, organized by Cosmos Foundation, have already created an impact and ripple in Bangladesh and beyond by contributing to opinion building and raising public awareness about the key issues facing the nation and having global ramifications.

Reprint (Original Print 28 June 2019)

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