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Chinese President Xi jinping shakes hands with Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Friday. Photo: EPA

Xi overseas package of deals with Bangladesh, giving push to ‘One Belt’ vision

First visit by Chinese head of state in 30 years sees agreements reached in infrastructure, energy and climate change

China and Bangladesh signed a raft of deals and upgraded their ties to a “strategic partnership” as Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Dhaka on Friday.

Xi’s trip, the first by a Chinese head of state to Bangladesh in 30 years, is part of China’s ambition to advance its “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Some 26 agreements and memorandums of understanding were signed, covering areas including infrastructure, energy, climate change and cooperation on counterterrorism, the local Daily Star reported. The signings were overseen by Xi and Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Bangladesh’s prime minister. No value was given for the package but earlier reports said loans worth more than US$23 billion would be extended to fund a series of big infrastructure projects.

A banner welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping hangs at a building construction site in Dhaka. Photo: AP

The two leaders also unveiled six projects, including a multi-lane tunnel beneath the Karnaphuli River, the key waterway in the port city of Chittagong, according to the Daily Star.

The two sides agreed to elevate ties from the “comprehensive cooperative partnership” reached in 2010 to a “strategic partnership” and to establish maritime cooperation at an institutional level.

Speaking after meeting Hasina, Xi said the two countries were “good friends and partners”, according to the report.

In an article he wrote for the Daily Star, Xi referred to Bangladesh as “an indispensable partner for China to advance the Belt and Road initiative”, a trade network stretching from Indonesia to the Netherlands.

Xi arrived in Bangladesh from Cambodia and was scheduled to head to India to attend the BRICS summit in Goa.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Xi gives boost to ‘One Belt’ in Dhaka