Bangladesh’s foreign minister on May 11 rejected remarks by the Chinese ambassador warning the South Asian nation not to participate in the U.S.-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue because it would damage bilateral relations.
The Quad is a four-nation Indo-Pacific alliance led by the United States, along with India, Japan, and Australia. Beijing considers the Quad a “small anti-Beijing club.”
“We are an independent and sovereign state,” Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A. K. Abdul Momen said at a May 11 press conference in response to the Chinese threat. “We decide our foreign policy. Any country can uphold its position. But we will take decisions considering the interest of people and the country.”
Momen expressed his surprise regarding the long reach of the Chinese communist regime’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy in interfering with Bangladesh’s affairs. He described it as “unusual” and “aggressive,” adding, “We did not expect such behavior from China.”
He also said the Quad hadn’t contacted Bangladesh to discuss joining the alliance and wondered why the Chinese ambassador made the remarks prematurely.
Chinese ambassador Li Jiming had warned on May 10, at an event organized by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association of Bangladesh (DCAB), that if Bangladesh were to join the group, China–Bangladesh relations would suffer “substantial damage.” He noted that Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe had delivered the same message during his recent visit to the South Asian country.
“We don’t want any form of participation of Bangladesh in this alliance,” Li said.
Meanwhile, China also tried to win over Bangladesh and said that China would provide more support to the country in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by promising to send more vaccines. Approximately 776,000 people in Bangladesh have been infected with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus and 12,000 have died of it, as of May 11.
In March, U.S. President Joe Biden, at a Quad virtual summit, said it would be “a vital arena for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific” to counter Beijing in the years ahead.
Bangladesh joined Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, at the risk of falling victim to its debt-trap diplomacy and losing strategically important ports on the Bay of Bengal to China, which would give the Beijing regime access points to the Indian Ocean.