China, Bangladesh sign investment pacts during Xi visit

EnergyAssociated Press

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday began a visit to Bangladesh during which the two countries signed agreements on billions of dollars of Chinese investment in infrastructure and energy and coordinating efforts in tackling terrorism and climate change.

Xi, the first Chinese president to visit Bangladesh in 30 years, was received by Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid at Dhaka's airport.

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Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said Bangladesh was an important partner of China in South Asia, and the visit will be a "milestone" in their relationship.

No details of the anti-terrorism agreement were immediately available. Bangladesh has cracked down on radicals blamed for violent attacks on foreigners, liberals and minorities. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for several attacks since last year, but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government has instead blamed domestic groups for the attacks.

The two countries have good economic ties. Chinese contractors have been building bridges and highways in Bangladesh, and Dhaka buys most of its military equipment from China.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of agreements by their officials. China will help Bangladesh in building economic and industrial zones units in southeastern Chittagong region and transfer information technology.

In 2015-16, the two-way trade between the countries crossed $9 billion __ $8.2 billion import from China and $791.03 million export to China.

China mainly imports leather, cotton textiles and fish from Bangladesh and exports textiles, machinery, electronic products, cement, fertilizer, tire, raw silk and maize to the South Asian nation.

Xi leaves for New Delhi on Saturday to attend a summit of five BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.