Bangladesh's political rivals woo China

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 16, 2010 08:10 hrs

Setting aside their political rivalry, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia have urged the visiting Chinese vice president to forge stronger economic ties and military cooperation with Dhaka.

Meeting Xi Jinping separately Tuesday, they covered similar issues, seeking a bridging of trade gap that is several times in favour of China and Beijing's entry in strategic areas like space and port building.

Xi responded positively. He expressed his government's gratitude to the Hasina government for supporting the 'One China Policy' that views Taiwan as part of the mainland, the New Age newspaper said Wednesday.

Xi recalled the March visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to China and said bilateral relations had entered 'a new chapter'.

To Zia, under whose prime ministership (2001-06) the two countries signed a military cooperation agreement, Xi said: 'You are our old and trusted friend.'

Military ties were nurtured when Zia's late husband, General Ziaur Rahman, was the country's president. China is the largest supplier of military hardware to Bangladesh.

Zia visited China as prime minister. Xi invited her to visit again.

During his meeting with President Zillur Rahman, Xi promised Chinese support for infrastructure, agriculture, trade, education, health, science and technology, and human resources.

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