Chinese Foreign Minister: Bangladesh snub forces Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to change visit dates

Bangladesh has snubbed China, with the Sheikh Hasina government forcing Foreign Minister Wang Yi to change the dates of his visit to Dhaka in August.

In an unusual diplomatic move, Beijing announced Wang’s visit to Dhaka in early August without consulting the Bangladeshi government. Dates for the visit have now been tentatively set around August 7-8 after consultations, ET has learned. Earlier, the Chinese Foreign Ministry unilaterally announced other dates for Wang’s visit.

It is China’s first high-level visit to Dhaka in the past five years, despite growing trade ties and increasing Chinese investment in Bangladesh across all sectors.

“Yes, the Chinese foreign minister wants to visit Dhaka. But since I will be on a pre-scheduled visit to New York and Cambodia, I have asked them (China) to change the date of his visit,” the official said. Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul. Momen told reporters in Dhaka on Friday that Wang Yi will visit Bangladesh as part of his regional tour of a few ASEAN countries including Cambodia and Mongolia.

Wang last visited Dhaka in November 2017. Diplomatic sources in Dhaka said that besides strategic cooperation between the countries, Beijing is keen to discuss political and economic crises.

A number of outstanding issues between the two countries are expected to be addressed during the Chinese minister’s visit to Bangladesh. These include the renewal of some MoUs regarding disaster preparedness, cultural cooperation and the handover of the 8th Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge over the Kocha River at Pirojpur to the authorities of Bangladesh. The 2.96 km bridge was built with Chinese funds.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Global Security Initiative and Global Development Initiative could be discussed during the visit.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, who was also planning to visit Dhaka, postponed her trip.