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B'desh calls Chinese envoy's Quad remarks 'presumptuous'

Dhaka, May 11 (IANS) A day after China warned Bangladesh of grave consequences if the latter joined any initiatives under the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, A.K. Abdul Momen, said on Tuesday that the country will take a decision based on a neutral and balanced foreign policy.

Updated May 11, 2021 18:06 PM

B'desh calls Chinese envoy's Quad remarks 'presumptuous'

On Monday, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Li Jiming, was quoted as saying: "Bilateral relations with Bangladesh would be substantially damaged if it joins hand with [Quad] initiatives."

"We'll decide what to do or what not to do for the betterment of the people of this country. And we'll decide it based on our principled position," Momen said.

"They can say whatever they want. He (Li Jiming) represents a country in Bangladesh may be they don't want it, and so they will naturally say this. The organisation he speaks of has shown no interest in us, so the statement was presumptuous."

Momen made the remarks while speaking at state guesthouse Padma on Tuesday, a day after Jiming said any sort of participation in the Quad alliance would "substantially damage" bilateral relations with China.

Quad is a "small group of elites" working against China, Jiming said at an event organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh, on Monday.

Jiming also said, "Obviously, it will not be a good idea for Bangladesh to participate in this small club of four because it will substantially damage our bilateral relationship."

Responding Jiming's remarks, Momen said, "This is a matter of the interest of our country. We do things we need to for the welfare of the nation. You have seen the Prime Minister, we maintain a non-aligned and balanced foreign policy, and we will continue to do the same."

"We are an independent and sovereign state. We determine our foreign policy. But yes, any country can present its view. We will take that into account with due respect," he added.

First established in 2007, Quad is an informal strategic dialogue established between the US, Japan, Australia and India. The initiative is widely regarded as a response to the growing economic and military power of China.

Momen said the organisation mentioned by the Chinese envoy has not told them anything yet.

"That's why I think he (the ambassador) has said taken things a little further. We have no special statement to make about this," he said.

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