BD, Japan to develop strategic ties
Bangladesh and Japan are committed to open a new chapter in relations by 2022 through establishing a strategic relations and a boost in trade and investment cooperation.
"We discussed ways to develop strategic ties giving a big boost to the existing comprehensive partnership
as the two countries want to open a new chapter in their relations in 2022, " Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a virtual meeting with his Japanese counterpart Hiroshi Suzuki on Thursday.
It was the third Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) meeting between the two countries.
"We're now trying, and we discussed it today (Thursday) how we can elevate the comprehensive relationship to strategic relations," Masud said.
The two sides discussed the regional issues and the Initiative of BIG-B (The Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt), Rohingya issues and Japenese investment issues here.
The Foreign Secretary said Bangladesh also sought Japan's support in Rohingya repatriation and their return to Myanmar is Bangladesh's priority.
"Our priority is repatriation. They respect it. They've understood our position," said Masud Momen mentioning that the Bangladesh side briefed the Japanese side about latest position under military takeover in Myanmar.
Bangladesh and Japan are currently focusing more on infrastructure development and business partnership under "BIG-B" initiative.
The two countries have deepened friendship and partnership in a number of areas including Matarbari deep sea-port, Dhaka Metro and Terminal 3 of the international airport in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary said they discussed what will be the elements and building blocks of the strategic relations, and the Japanese side showed much interest to that end, the meeting continued for over two hours.
Masud Momen said the Japanese side discussed the issue of 'Free and Open Indo-Pacific' and development in the whole region.
Japan says it will have stronger cooperation with Bangladesh, especially for enhancing regional stability and connectivity in the region, as the development of Bangladesh contributes to the stability of the Indo Pacific region, Momen said.
Bangladesh is set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence this year and the 50th anniversary of Japan-Bangladesh diplomatic relations in 2022.
Bangladesh also sought support from Japan if any outcome is found through tripartite mechanism with China and Myanmar to repatriate Rohingyas to their homeland Myanmar.
The Foreign Secretary said Bangladesh wants to see a special role from countries, including India and Japan, for ensuring safety, security and sustainable living of Rohingyas in Myanmar part once they cross the Bangladesh border through repatriation.
Bangladesh is trying in multiple ways -- bilaterally, multilaterally, tri-laterally and through the judicial system -- to find a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis.
Bangladesh proposed deployment of nonmilitary civilian observers from Myanmar's friendly countries -- Japan, China, Russia, India and Asean countries.
The Foreign Secretary said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman paid an official visit to Japan from 18 to 24 October 1973 at the invitation of the Japanese government that cemented relations between the two countries.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid an official visit to Japan in 2014 and there was a subsequent visit by then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
During the visits, the Foreign Secretary said, the two leaders termed the relations a "comprehensive" one with broader economic and investment ties.