Bangladesh's Curt Reply As China Warns It Against Joining Quad Alliance
Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Dhaka maintained a non-aligned and balanced foreign policy
Bangladesh has reacted curtly to China's warning that Dhaka's participation in the 'anti-Beijing' Quad alliance would result in "substantial damage" to bilateral relations.
Pointing out that Bangladesh was an "independent and sovereign" state, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday said they decided their own foreign policy.
"Quad is a small group of elites working against China," Ambassador Li Jiming was quoted as saying at a virtual meeting organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh on Monday.
"Obviously it will not be a good idea for Bangladesh to participate in this small club of four (Quad) because it will substantially damage our bilateral relationship," the Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming was quoted as saying by multiple media reports.
The unusual warning from Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming came just weeks after visiting Chinese Defence Minister Gen Wei Fenghe invited Dhaka for establing a 'military alliance' in South Asia.
Reacting to the Chinese envoy's controversial remarks, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Momen said Dhaka maintained a non-aligned and balanced foreign policy and it would decide what to do according to those principles.
"We're an independent and sovereign state. We decide our (own) foreign policy. But yes, any country can uphold its position," he told reporters on Tuesday.
"Naturally, he (Chinese ambassador) represents a country. They can say what they want. Maybe they don't want it (Bangladesh joining the Quad)," the Foreign Minister said, adding that no one from the Quad has approached Bangladesh yet.
The comment has been preemptive, the United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency reported, quoting the foreign minister.
Initiated in 2007, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, Quad for short, is an informal grouping of India, the US, Australia and Japan.
"Quad says it is only for economic purposes and security and so on. But that's not true. We know that Quad is aimed at China," the Chinese envoy was quoted as saying by BDNews24.com news portal and other newspapers.
Japan, together with the US, has stated it very clearly they are participating in [Quad] because of China, Mr Li said.
Li described the Quad as a "narrow-purposed" geopolitical clique, and Bangladesh should not join it as the country will not derive any benefit from the initiative.
"History has proved again and again such partnership surely damages our neighbours' own social, economic development and people's well-being," Li was quoted as saying by the UNB news agency.