Staff Correspondent
Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Zhang Zuo on Saturday expressed hope that the next national election in Bangladesh, scheduled for December 30, will go very “well and smooth”, saying that China will deepen its ties with Bangladesh on all fronts.
“We hope you’ll have a very smooth election. Bangladeshis and political parties can have that (well and smooth polls),” he told reporters after attending Cosmos Dialogue on Bangladesh-China relations in the city.

The Chinese Ambassador, who attended the dialogue as chief guest, said the two countries will further deepen political, economic and people-to-people relationship. “China will remain a development partner of Bangladesh,” he said.

On Rohingya issue, he said China wants to play a constructive role in this regard.

Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bangladeshi conglomerate Cosmos Group, hosted the symposium titled ‘Bangladesh-China Relations: Prognosis for the Future’ at Six Seasons Hotel in the city.

Experts both from Bangladesh and China attended the symposium and assessed the Bangladesh-China relationship in the present context and identifled the challenges and opportunities.

Chairman of Cosmos Foundation Enayetullah Khan delivered the welcome speech.

Principal Research Fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore and a former Adviser to Bangladesh’s previous caretaker government Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury chaired the session.

The symposium was part of the Cosmos Foundation’s ‘Dialogue’ series, in which a high-level expert panel was tasked with tackling a particularly pressing issue of the day, followed by the participation of an informed and engaging audience.

The panel comprised Prof Li Tao, Executive Director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at Sichuan University in China; Yuan Jirong, Chief Journalist at the India Bureau of the People’s Daily; historian and media personality Afsan Chowdhury; and Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, a professor at the Department of International Relations of Dhaka University.

In 2017, the bilateral trade value reached US$ 16 billion, 5.8 percent higher than last year’s, with China remaining the number 1 trade partner of Bangladesh, according to the Chinese Embassy here.

In the first half of this year, data shows, the bilateral trade value stands at US$ 9.35 billion, with a growth rate of 17.6 percent year on year.

China and Bangladesh share close people-to-people bond, similar national realities, and complementary development goals.

The people of Bangladesh and China are bound together by ancient ties though the formal diplomatic relations commenced in 1975 and the state in both countries has shown itself to be sensitive to the historic depth of people-to-people contact.