Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday said Bangladesh had not received any offer to join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, led by the United States.
Referring to Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming's statement the day before that Dhaka's relations with Beijing will "substantially get damaged" if it joins Quad, the foreign minister said, "The Chinese envoy represents his country. So, he expressed their strategy."
But Bangladesh maintains a non-aligned and balanced foreign policy, and it will decide what to do considering the interests of the people and the country, he said.
Li Jiming had said Quad was a military alliance against China's resurgence and its relationship with neighbouring countries.
At a briefing at the state guesthouse, Padma, the foreign minister yesterday said, "Usually, China does not interfere with issues of other countries. And I have not found anyone this aggressive. This [the Chinese envoy's remark] is very unfortunate...We do not expect such an approach from China.
"We are an independent and sovereign state. We decide our foreign policy."
Earlier last month, the issue of joining Quad surfaced during Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe's visit to Bangladesh.
Fenghe also requested Bangladesh not to join Quad as he met President Abdul Hamid.
Later, Abdul Momen told the media, "We are against joining any military alliance, but we are in favour of a free and open Indian Ocean. Bangladesh wants free trade on sea routes."
Asked if the Chinese ambassador would be sent any message for his remarks, Momen said, "We do not always tell the media what we are doing. We have different ways of doing things. We know what to do."
Quad is a strategic coalition comprising the US, Japan, Australia and India, formed to tackle China's presence in the Indo-Pacific region.