China ready to cooperate with other countries to build deep seaport in Bangladesh

China is still eager to build a deep seaport in Bangladesh, and as a gesture of its “sincerity” it is even ready to cooperate with other countries for this important project.

Published : 21 March 2016, 02:05 PM
Updated : 21 March 2016, 02:05 PM

Ambassador in Dhaka Ma Mingqiang said they were in Bangladesh with “sincere” commitment.

“And people with sincerity can cooperate. We are open for this,” he said, replying to a question during an interaction with the diplomatic correspondents in Dhaka on Monday.

Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) organised the event styled ‘DCABtalk’. The interaction was conducted by its President Angur Nahar Monty and General Secretary Pantho Rahman.

Dhaka has recently cleared Japan's proposal to finance and build a seaport in Matarbarhi, located some 25 km from Sonadia, where Beijing had long before offered to construct the country's first deep seaport.

This has been interpreted by many as Bangladesh’s quite move to kill the Sonadia project as a strategic decision to allay India, Japan and the US’s concerns.

If completed, Sonadia being located on the south-eastern corner of Bangladesh would bring the Chinese presence close to India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

There are reports that the government is considering bringing all the interested countries together to build a deep seaport.

The ambassador said Bangladesh needs a deep seaport for business facilitation.

“With other countries we are open,” he said, “whether it is in Sonadia, Pyra or wherever it is, first of all it will be a port of Bangladesh.”

“Bangladesh government and its people will be owner of it,” he said.

“China or any other country could be a contractor or at best operator of the port. The port is Bangladesh port. We cannot move it to Chine or to other counties.

“The port can also be used by all (countries) as long as they pay for the service. It will not be exclusive for the consulting counties,” he said.

The ambassador said China was here in Bangladesh to cooperate.

“This cooperation is open. It’s not exclusive. If there is a port, of course we are willing to cooperate with any countries. We can build together because we are here with the sincerity.

“We hope that people with sincerity can cooperate. We are open for this,” he said.

The Ambassador said Bangladesh and China had established “the comprehensive partnership of cooperation”.

According to statistics of China’s customs, the trade volume between the two countries has reached $14.7 billion in 2015.

China has provided numerous assistances to support Bangladesh’s economic and social progress, including the seven China-Bangladesh Friendship Bridges and Bangabandhu International Convention Centre (BICC).

Recently, China and Bangladesh have agreed on the 8th China Bangladesh Friendship Bridge and China-Bangladesh Friendship Exposition Centre. China will also provide assistances for the renovation of BICC.

The ambassador said China would donate a batch of medical, disaster relief and agriculture instruments to Bangladesh and “is working on comprehensive plan for flood prevention and promoting hybrid rice technology”.

China also provides scholarships to Bangladeshi students, he said.

Nearly one thousand government officials and students went to China for training and further study last year.

He said terrorism was also an area where both countries could work together.