Xi’s vis­its said to ad­vance ties through­out south­ern Asia

Pres­i­dent will meet with lead­ers of BRICS coun­tries dur­ing sum­mit

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s up­com­ing trip to Cam­bo­dia, Bangladesh and In­dia will be “an im­por­tant diplo­matic ac­tiv­ity” aimed at boost­ing ties with South Asia, a se­nior diplo­mat said on Mon­day.

Kong Xuanyou, as­sis­tant for­eign min­is­ter, said at a news con­fer­ence in Bei­jing that it will be the first state visit of a Chi­nese pres­i­dent to Bangladesh in 30 years. It will also be Xi’s first visit to Cam­bo­dia since be­com­ing China’s top leader in late 2012.

Xi will make state vis­its to Cam­bo­dia and Bangladesh on Thurs­day and Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to the For­eign Min­istry, and then fly to Goa, In­dia, for the Eighth BRICS Sum­mit over the week­end.

“Bangladesh is China’s im­por­tant part­ner in the South Asian and the In­dian Ocean re­gion, and the visit will be a mile­stone for the China-Bangladesh re­la­tion­ship,” he said.

Dur­ing Xi’s vis­its, China will sign a num­ber of co­op­er­a­tive doc­u­ments with Cam­bo­dia and Bangladesh re­gard­ing the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, pro­posed by Xi in 2013, which fo­cuses on im­prov­ing in­fra­struc­ture and boost­ing in­ter­con­nec­tion, Kong said.

Xi al­ready vis­ited some South Asian coun­tries, in­clud­ing In­dia and Sri Lanka, in 2014 and Pak­istan last year.

Li Baodong, vice-for­eign min­is­ter, said the BRICS Sum­mit in In­dia is ex­pected to boost con­fi­dence in global eco­nomic growth.

“Through this meet­ing, China ex­pects to send a pos­i­tive sig­nal of higher con­fi­dence,” he said.

China also hopes to raise the in­flu­ence of BRICS mem­bers and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in in­ter­na­tional af­fairs, to safe­guard peace and sta­bil­ity, he added.

Dur­ing the sum­mit, Xi will meet in bilateral talks with lead­ers from other BRICS mem­bers, in­clud­ing Rus­sia’s Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and In­dia’s Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, to reach con­sen­sus on global gov­er­nance, Li said.

Jiang Jingkui, direc­tor of the Cen­ter of South Asian Stud­ies at Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity, said that the South Asian re­gion, which is not a tra­di­tional fo­cus for China, has be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant in re­cent years, es­pe­cially after China put for­ward the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in 2013.

“To some ex­tent, the South Asian re­gion is also one of China’s back­yards,” he said, adding that north­ern South Asia is a key part of the (Silk Road Eco­nomic) Belt and south­ern South Asia of the (21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk) Road.

Bangladesh has been ea­ger to ad­vance the China-In­dia-Myan­mar-Bangladesh eco­nomic cor­ri­dor, and Xi’s visit will bring more prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tive re­sults for the two coun­tries, Jiang said.

Jin Yong, deputy head of the Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Uni­ver­sity of China’s School of For­eign Stud­ies, said that the large South Asian pop­u­la­tion means huge mar­ket po­ten­tial for China, an im­por­tant prospect given the cur­rent global eco­nomic slug­gish­ness.

Densely pop­u­lated Bangladesh has more than 150 mil­lion peo­ple, while In­dia has the world’s sec­ond-largest pop­u­la­tion, he said.

Many Chi­nese tex­tile com­pa­nies have moved their fac­to­ries from South China to Bangladesh to save la­bor costs, and such co­op­er­a­tion has bound the economies of the two coun­tries more tightly, he added.

Through this meet­ing, China ex­pects to send a pos­i­tive sig­nal of higher con­fi­dence.” Li Baodong, China’s vice-for­eign min­is­ter

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