Bangladesh hits back after China asks Dhaka to shun bloc politics
Reacting to Li’s comments, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said the Chinese envoy’s comments are “very unfortunate” and “aggressive” FILE PHOTO: Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping as she arrives for a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on July 5, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Mark Schiefelbein – Pool/Getty Images)
CHINA has told Bangladesh to stay independent and reject bloc politics, a year after publicly asking Dhaka not to join the Quad alliance comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia.
“China believes that countries in the region, including Bangladesh, will bear in mind the fundamental interests of their own countries and the region, uphold independence, reject the Cold War mentality and bloc politics,” Liu Jinsong, director-general of the department of Asian affairs of the Chinese foreign ministry, told Bangladeshi Ambassador to China Mahbub Uz Zaman.
The regional countries should safeguard true multilateralism and defend the hard-won environment for peace and development in the region, Liu told Zaman during their meeting, according to a press release issued by the foreign ministry.
In May 2021, China’s Ambassador to Bangladeshi Li Jiming in Dhaka courted controversy by publicly asking Bangladesh not to join the Quad alliance.
“Obviously, it will not be a good idea for Bangladesh to participate in this small club of four (Quad) because it will substantially damage our bilateral relationship,” Li had said in Dhaka.
Reacting to Li’s comments, Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said the Chinese envoy’s comments are “very unfortunate” and “aggressive”.
“We are an independent and sovereign state. We decide our foreign policy,” Momen had said at the time.
“We didn’t expect such behaviour from China,” he said.
China has been opposing Quad projecting it as Asian NATO aimed at containing its rise.
In his meeting with Zaman, Liu attacked the recent speech by US secretary of state Antony Blinken in which he said China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.
Unveiling the Biden administration’s China policy, at US-based George Washington University last week, Blinken called China “the most serious long-term challenge to the international order”.
He, however, added that the US would avoid conflict or new Cold War with the Communist country.
Liu said the “three-point approach” put forward by Blinken on China said “investment, alliance and competition”, which reflects serious deviations in the US view of the world and view of Beijing and China-US relations.
“The logic behind the US Indo-Pacific strategy, AUKUS, the Quad grouping and the latest Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is US “centrism” and “exceptionalism”,” he said.
“As a result, it will only bring disgrace to itself, and at the same time undermine the regional cooperation framework and create bloc confrontation,” he said.
“The US should realise that “the tune may be finished, but no one will dance to the tune,” he said.
On Thursday (2), Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian took exception to Blinken’s comment that “we have profound differences with the Communist Party of China (CPC), and the Chinese government. But those differences are between governments and systems – not between our people”.
Blinken’s remarks are “part of an attempt to sever the strong bond between the CPC and the Chinese people. China firmly rejects that”, Zhao said.
“The Chinese people are fully aware of the ill intention of the US to suppress and contain China’s development and hinder the Chinese nation’s rejuvenation. Moves like this that are designed to sow discord will not succeed,” he said.