Thu, 09 Feb 2023

Dhaka [Bangladesh], January 20 (ANI): Bangladesh is caught between China and the United States as both want a strategic alliance with the country as they wrangle over superpower status in the region, Bangladesh Live News reported.

The US is worried that its recent tensions with Bangladesh could turn into an opportunity for China to come closer to it.

Qin Gang, the newly appointed Chinese foreign minister recently had an airport layover in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on way to an African tour. He made an important foreign policy point by making his first stopover in Dhaka. His visit coincided with the visit of the US National Security Council's Senior Director for South Asia, Rear Adm. Eileen Laubacher.

Recently, Bangladesh foreign minister A K Abdul Momen, said that: "Bangladesh wants to maintain good relations with both US and China. That is a challenging thing."Bangladesh's relationship with Washington has been troubled since December 2021, after the U.S. declared sanctions on Bangladesh's elite security force, the Rapid Action Battalion, over alleged human rights violations such as enforced disappearances.

Relations further soured after the US in 2022, called on Bangladesh to ensure that the upcoming elections be free and fair. Momen said that his country did not need lessons on democracy from other nations.

Dhaka, however, also has tensions with Beijing.

In May 2021, the then ambassador of China to Bangladesh said that the relationship between the two countries could be "substantially damaged" if the South Asian country joined any initiative launched by the Washington-led Quad alliance, according to Bangladesh Live News.

The Bangladesh Live News report also said that the Chinese envoy, Li Jiming, had warned Bangladesh at a meeting organized by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association on May 12, 2021: "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."Bangladesh in reply said that it is a sovereign state and would make its own decisions about the nation's foreign policy.

Later, however, Momen offered reassurances to China about Bangladesh's neutral stance in the geopolitical competition between Beijing and Washington. 'We maintain a balanced foreign policy. This is our principle. We will extend our support to you from time to time. US and China might have their own problems. That is their headache, not ours. We want to maintain good relations with both," Momen said. (ANI)

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