Beijing—The leading Bangladeshi newspapers of The Daily Star and Prothom Alo on Friday carried a signed article by Chinese President Xi Jinping on the occasion of his state visit to the country.
Text of speech: At the kind invitation of President Abdul Hamid, I will pay a state visit to the beautiful country of Bangladesh in this golden harvest season of autumn. It has been six years since my last trip to this country and I look forward to meeting friends both old and new and discussing with them how China and Bangladesh can work together for common development.
Bangladesh is a fascinating and promising land. It is where the Padma, Jamuna and Meghna rivers flow into the sea. Its vast expanse of fertile fields which normally have the color of emerald green become a sea of golden yellow at the time of harvest. Endowed with rich natural resources, this land is home to a hard-working and talented nation and a time-honored and splendid culture. In fact, famous poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote many of his most notable works in Bengali.
Bangladesh is a land filled with hope. Since its independence, Bangladesh has come a long way. With strenuous efforts, it has started from scratch and successfully met the livelihood needs of its 160 million population, contributing significantly to global poverty reduction. In recent years, by seizing the opportunities of economic globalization and focusing on reform and development, Bangladesh has kept its economy growing at above 6 percent and made steady progress in industrialization and urbanization. Bangladesh is well on track to achieve Vision 2021 and become a middle-income country.
The people of China and Bangladesh have been good neighbors and friends since ancient times. Stories of our friendship and exchange witnessed by the Southern Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road throughout the millennia are still being told today. Eminent Chinese monks Faxian and Xuanzang travelled west for Buddhist scriptures. Atisa Dipankara Shrijnana, a Bengali religious master, spread Buddhism in China. They were the pioneers of our cultural exchange. Famous navigator Zheng He of the Ming Dynasty visited Bengal twice. According to his description, “This is a richly endowed and teeming land with lovely people and fertile fields.” Believed by the Chinese then to be a qilin (an auspicious mythical animal), the giraffe that the Bengali king gave to the Ming emperor brought much excitement to the court and general public in China.
More recently, having endured repeated wars and incessant poverty, our peoples fought tenaciously for national independence and liberation, strove for development and progress and forged unshakable trust and friendship in the process. In the 1950s and 1960s, Premier Zhou Enlai visited Dhaka twice and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman visited China twice. The seed of friendship was thus planted by the veteran leaders of our two countries long before diplomatic ties were established. It has now grown into a giant tree with deep roots and rich fruits.
As a Chinese proverb goes, “Only friendships built on sincerity can last long.” Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 41 years ago, China has always regarded Bangladesh as its true friend and partner for development. China highly values its relations with Bangladesh. We firmly support each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests.
Successive Chinese and Bangladeshi leaders have maintained sound interactions at bilateral and multilateral events and provided positive guidance to the growth of bilateral relations. In September 2015, I had a good meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in New York on the margins of the UN summits marking its 70th anniversary.
We agreed to expand cooperation across the board, jointly advance the Belt and Road Initiative and the BCIM Economic Corridor and take bilateral relations to a new height.