‘US shows respect on Bangladesh’s foreign policy’

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DHAKA, May 13, 2021 (BSS) – The United States (US) has showed respect on Bangladesh’s own foreign policy decisions while its State Department spokesperson made comments on Chinese ambassador’s recent remarks here over “Quad”, a US-led four-nation informal military alliance.

“We respect Bangladesh’s sovereignty, and we respect Bangladesh’s right to make foreign policy decisions for itself,” Spokesperson Ned Price said in a regular briefing in US on Tuesday.

He said the US has an incredibly strong relationship with Bangladesh while Washington DC works closely with their partners there on a range of issues –from economic growth to climate change to humanitarian issues.

“But the Quad, it’s an informal, essential, multilateral mechanism that right now conveys – convenes likeminded democracies – the United States, India, Australia, and Japan – to coordinate in the Indo-Pacific, and fundamentally, to push forward our goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” Price said.

The state department spokesperson said the US has taken note of recent remarks made by Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming over ‘Quad’ (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue).

On Monday, in a media interaction here, Jiming said Bangladesh’s relations with China would “substantially be damaged” if it joins QUAD which he described as “a military alliance aimed against China’s resurgence and its relationship with neighbouring countries”.

“We don’t like to see any form of participation by Bangladesh to this small group of countries,” said the ambassador at a virtual discussion with the members of Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB).

A day after the Chinese envoy’s remarks, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen called the comment “very unfortunate” and “aggressive” adding that he never heard such aggressive comments from any Chinese diplomat before.

“We’re an independent and sovereign state. We decide our foreign policy,” he said, adding that Dhaka didn’t expect such behavior from China.

A senior foreign ministry official, preferring anonymity, told BSS that Dhaka so far expressed no interest about the QUAD while nobody either approached Bangladesh to join the platform.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Chinese ambassador explained his remarks to Bangladesh foreign secretary Masud bin Momen at the handing over ceremony of five lakh doses of Chinese vaccine to Bangladesh as ‘gift’.

Later, Masud told media that the Chinese envoy termed his comment ‘out of context’ and claimed that he didn’t mean any harm over bilateral ties between Dhaka and Beijing.