The China card

Posted in foreign policy by jrahman on March 18, 2010

Bangladeshi Prime Minister is on a five day trip to China.  According to the Daily Star, Bangladesh will seek $2.2b for infrastructure projects including several bridges and a fertiliser factory.  The PM will visit Kunming, a major city in Souther China.  Apparently, Bangladesh is very keen for a Chittagong-Kunming road and rail network through Myanmar.  Also, Bangladesh is reported to be seeking Chinese funding for a deep sea port, which China will be allowed to use. 

If these stories turn out to be true, this trip will have more reasons to generate headlines than the PM’s trip to New Delhi in January.  And yet, the lead up to this trip has been very low key compared with the earlier one. 

But then again, China has always been a low key regional power.  Whereas Indian envoys have a track record of making headlines (link), the Chinese ones quietly apply pressure to cancel shows on Tibet.  Bangladesh has a larger trade deficit with China than India (see the chart), and exports more to India than China — when was the last time anyone heard of Chinese takeover of our economy, or lack of access to the Chinese market?

So China exerts pressure when its interests are at stake.  What does Bangladesh get in return?  I guess we will know in a few days.  For now, let me state my cautious optimism about the trip.

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5 Responses

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  1. fugstar said, on March 18, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    what say you?

    • jrahman said, on March 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      I say let a hundred flowers bloom.

  2. […] Rahman at Mukti shares his cautious optimism about Bangladesh Prime Minister's ongoing China trip. Cancel this […]

  3. Jamshaid Khan Barki said, on April 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks God there is china. China is a trusted nation full of love and affection and always faithful to friends. China believes in international peace and helps friends in problems. On other hand India, all I can smile.

  4. Clueless elephant, hidden dragon « Mukti said, on September 14, 2011 at 11:25 am

    […] year, Sheikh Hasina’s India trip lasted barely two days.  She spent five days in China, achieving as much if not more in Beijing than in New Delhi.  And there is bi-partisan […]

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