After Chinese President Xi Jinping and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held bilateral talks on Friday, the two sides have agreed to upgrade their bilateral ties to a strategic partnership of cooperation.
A joint statement said that the visit has ushered the traditional friendship between China and Bangladesh into a new era and bears significant historical importance to the bilateral relationship, reports Xinhua.
It said that the two sides agreed to enhance high-level exchanges, maintain frequent contacts between leaders of the two countries on the sidelines of multilateral fora, strengthening exchanges and cooperation at various levels between the two governments, legislative bodies, political parties, and peoples to deepen mutual trust at all levels.
They have also agreed to enhance the alignment of the development strategies of the two countries, fully tap the potentials of cooperation in various areas, work on "the Belt and Road Initiative" so as to realize sustainable development and common prosperity of the two countries.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Xi in 2013, comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.
Bangladesh is appreciative of the initiative, believing it will bring important opportunities for Bangladesh' s goals of becoming a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041.
China and Bangladesh agreed to expand and deepen trade and investment cooperation and identify infrastructure, industrial capacity cooperation, energy and power, transportation, information and communication technology and agriculture as the key areas of bilateral pragmatic cooperation.
They agreed to start feasibility studies on the establishment of China-Bangladesh Free Trade Area.
China will continue to encourage and support Chinese enterprises to invest and build Economic and Industrial Zones in Bangladesh. Bangladesh will facilitate and support Chinese enterprises doing business in Bangladesh.
The Chinese side will also provide support and assistance to Bangladesh in strengthening disaster management capacity building, seeking waste management and water treatment solutions for both urban and industrial areas and developing earthquake resilient infrastructure.
China and Bangladesh agreed to strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges and carry forward the traditional friendship between the two countries and to announce the year 2017 as the Year of Friendship and Exchanges between China and Bangladesh.
The statement specified that China will train 500 Chinese-language teachers for Bangladesh and 100 Bangladeshi cultural professionals, and invite 600 Bangladeshi students to visit China during 2016 to 2020.
It also said the two sides are ready to enhance communication and coordination in pushing forward the construction of Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. They agreed to push for early consensus on the Joint Study Report and establish the governmental cooperation framework between the four parties, so as to launch early harvest programs at an early date.
The document highlighted bilateral cooperation in other fields such as industrial capacity, finance, maritime affairs, climate change and fight against terrorism and on international affairs.
Xi arrived in Dhaka yesterday for a state visit, the first by a Chinese head of state to the South Asian country in 30 years.
Bangladesh was the second leg of Xi's visit, which already took him to Cambodia. He will today travel to India for the BRICS Summit.