China will always stay beside Bangladesh in its needs that include supporting it in joining the BRICS and ensuring permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday (August 23, 2023) evening gave the assurance in a bilateral meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Hotel Hilton Sandton here on the sidelines of the 15th BRICS Summit.

The Chinese president also gave assurance of cooperation in making Bangladesh a developed, prosperous Sonar Bangla and taking initiative to quicken the signing of the Preferential-free Trade Agreement with Bangladesh and reducing the imbalance in China-Bangladesh trade.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen briefed reporters after the bilateral talks between the two leaders.

During the meeting, he said, both the leaders invited one another to visit their respective countries at their convenient time and they have agreed to this respect.

"I will always support you (Sheikh Hasina) as you can join the BRICS," Momen quoted the Chinese president as saying l.

Regarding the Rohingya issue, Xi wants to resolve the Rohingya issue through tripartite engagement of China, Bangladesh and Myanmar and assured that they will always support Bangladesh to this end.

"China will help Bangladesh in bringing a permanent solution to the Rohingya issue. ---we don't want instability in the region," he was quoted as saying by the foreign minister.

Bangladesh prime minister said that her government wants to repatriate Rohingyas to their homeland citing that they are becoming threats for the peace of the region as many of them are engaged in illegal drugs and arms trading.

"Peace is imperative for development," she said.

Xi also expressed his country's keenness to help Bangladesh in the development of energy, renewable energy and infrastructure.

"China will help you materialise your dream to build a developed and prosperous 'Sonar Bangla' at the quickest possible time."

Hasina also sought the Chinese president's help in quick implementation of some Chinese funded projects which are now being stuck for fund crisis while the Chinese leader is assured of looking into the matters.

During the talks, the prime minister stressed the need for reducing the trade gap between Bangladesh and China citing that Bangladesh has currently imported Chinese goods worth about 20 billion US dollars every year while China imported Bangladeshi goods worth only 700 million US dollars.

The Chinese president in reply said they must address the issue and said that China has given duty and quota free access to 98 percent Bangladeshi products to the Chinese market.

Hasina said that the trade gap between Bangladesh and China will be reduced if some Chinese investments come to Bangladesh.

She also stressed the need for signing the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries.

"We will take measures to quicken the signing of the Preferential Trade Agreement between the countries," Xi said in reply.

Momen said that Bangladesh has expressed its eagerness to export fresh fruits such as mango, jackfruit, guava, fresh vegetables and cattle and poultry feeds to China.

The Chinese leader assured them that they must consider it, Momen said.

Bangladesh premier invited the Chinese President to visit Bangladesh to witness the opening of the Padma Rail Bridge to be held in October next.

In reply, the Chinese president said that he will definitely come to Bangladesh.

"But the time of visit will be fixed through talks between foreign ministers of both the countries."

Xi Jingping also invited Bangladesh PM to visit China and in reply Sheikh Hasina said she will visit China.

"But it may take time as she will be busy with the election campaign as the national election is knocking the door, the foreign minister said.

Sheikh Hasina urged the Chinese President to widen the scope for Bangladeshi students to study in China while Xi assured of looking into the matter.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, PM's daughter and Thematic Ambassador of Climate Vulnerable Forum and Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Saima Wazed, PM's Principal Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah and Senior Secretary of Foreign Affairs Masud Bin Momen, were present in the meeting.

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