China assures Bangladesh of friendship
DHAKA, Bangladesh (Reuters) -- Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji says his country will always remain a friend of Bangladesh, which relies heavily on Chinese assistance for development and defense.
"Whatever changes may take place on the international arena, China will always be an old friend of Bangladesh," he said on Saturday while inaugurating a multi-million dollar international conference center in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, built with Chinese assistance.
China is one of Bangladesh's key development and trade partners and also the main supplier of military hardware, government officials said.
The two countries signed seven memoranda of understanding on Friday expanding cooperation in fields of economy, energy and infrastructure.
China has built five river bridges in Bangladesh that significantly improved road connections.
Zhu arrived in Dhaka on Friday for a two-day visit before heading to New Delhi for a trip coinciding with the tense military standoff between neighbors India and Pakistan.
Zhu said on Saturday the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre, completed in July 2001, was a manifestation of the friendship between the two countries.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, who also attended the inauguration, said the conference center was a symbol of the warm friendship, cordial relations and close cooperation between the two countries.
On Saturday Zhu also visited a national memorial for martyrs in Bangladesh's 1971 independence war at Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka.
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