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Quest Means Business
First Republic Shares Plumet Amid Report Of New Lifeline; EU Policymakers Cheer UBS Takeover Of Credit Suisse; Protests Follow Failed No-Confidence Vote; 'Dear Friends' Xi And Putin Meet In Moscow; U.N. Estimates 1M Rohingya Refugees Have Fled To Bangladesh; Hasina: Myanmar Government Is Not Listening To Anyone. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired March 20, 2023 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome, everybody.
The closing bell is ringing on Wall Street and it is a strong start to a busy week for US markets. The Dow, let's take a look here is soaring more
than three -- actually almost 400 points. Those are the markets and these are the main events.
First Republic shares plummet on report that rival banks are working on yet another rescue plan for the midsize bank.
UBS throws credit Swiss a lifeline over the weekend, as Swiss regulators step in to stem the banking crisis.
And President Emmanuel Macron's government survives two no-confidence votes as anger over his planned pension reforms spill onto the streets yet again.
Coming to you live from New York, it is Monday, March 20th. I'm Zain Asher, in for my colleague Richard Quest, and this is of course, QUEST MEANS
All right, good evening, everyone.
Tonight, as one struggling bank in Europe finds a buyer, another in the US is sinking deeper into crisis. Shares in First Republic closed nearly 50
percent lower. You can actually see that they got a short lived bounce midsession, but I emphasize the word "short lived." Around that time, "The
Wall Street Journal" reported that Jamie Dimon was leading a new effort to help the midsize bank.
Last Thursday, JPMorgan CEO, Jamie Dimon as I mentioned, helped arrange a $30 billion lifeline for First Republic. Eleven major banks contributed to
Rahel Solomon joins us live now. So we saw, as I just mentioned, Rahel, last week this group of banks coming together to help First Republic trying
to provide $30 billion. Clearly, it was not enough. First Republic in a desperate situation right now trying to reassure depositors.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Zain, I sort of heard some of what you said here, so I'm going to pick up where I think you left off.
But yes, Jamie Dimon, the catalyst today and JPMorgan that he may be trying to shore up another rescue effort for First Republic. I want to just show
you just sort of some of the action of First Republic stocks since September of 2022.
Just take a look at how much of a dramatic fall it has taken. Shares are now less than 20 bucks. I think we can pull up the stock chart for you. But
take a look. If you look at September 2022, that stock was closer to 140 bucks. So it has been a dramatic fall for this stock.
So Jamie Dimon essentially, according to "The Wall Street Journal," at least trying to shore up some more support for First Republic, that's on
top of the 11 banks last week, including JP Morgan pulling together their money to provide $30 billion in uninsured deposits, so you can see, it is
just hard to even watch here. Shares are off 47 percent today.
Interesting to note, Zain, Jamie Dimon, he was leading Bear Stearns in 2008, almost exactly 15 years ago, when JPMorgan stepped in to buy Bear
Stearns. So interesting to see him again, sort of take this role. We will ultimately have to see what this ultimately looks like, but he has played
this role before, he has been here before.
So what could this new rescue effort look like? Well, it could potentially mean First Republic issuing more shares, which on the one hand would allow
it to sort of have access to more capital. On the other hand, it would dilute existing shares, which of course investors don't like perhaps part
of the reason why we've seen the reaction we've seen.
All that to say, Zain that ultimately, if all of this becomes a movie, Jamie Dimon will have his role, at least his character at least, will have
a pretty big role.
ASHER: I love that you pointed out the parallels between what was happening in 2008. I mean, you think about what happened during the
financial crisis and JPMorgan was really the only game in town. I mean, that whole period really solidified Jamie Dimon's role as a star player in
the banking sector.
So what is it going to take to shore up confidence given all of this news for depositors, Rahel?
SOLOMON: Well, what you're starting to see is more cause, it is a whisper that's growing louder that we should see more in terms of the FDIC program,
expanding its insurance coverage beyond the initial $250,000.00, which is customary, but expanding that.
We heard Nelson Peltz, for example, a very prominent hedge fund manager suggest the same on CNBC earlier, Gary Cohn said the same on the Sunday
morning program, "Face the Nation," I believe it was.
And so because what we're seeing is a real lack of competence in the US banking system and even beyond, there is a feeling now that we should see
something from the government to really shore up competence for depositors, because a lot of what we're seeing now is depositors should have moved
their money, right? It is part of the reason why First Republic is having its issues. Certainly part of the reason why SVB had the fate that it had
and so you're seeing these calls to really step up the FDIC insurance program, potentially that could mean adding insurance premiums so that
money is actually going in to the Federal Reserve, but then also ensuring confidence for depositors like you and me and everyone watching.
ASHER: Yes, that confidence is so badly needed.
Rahel Solomon live for us that there. We'll see what happens on Wednesday, right? We've got the Fed meeting. Everybody would be watching that closely.
That will be a very busy day for you, Rahel. I appreciate you being with us.
All right across the Atlantic, European officials are cheering UBS' deal to buy its troubled Swiss counterpart Credit Suisse. UBS will pay just over $3
billion, well below Credit Suisse's market cap when Zurich closed on Friday. Authorities are hoping the agreement will restore stability to the
European banking sector.
Anna Stewart joins us live now from London.
So Anna, this deal came together very, very quickly. It was initiated by Swiss regulators. Just explain to us whether or not it is enough to
actually stem the crisis?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Oh, I think we might have to wait a few days to see whether that's the case, but this was incredibly quick. You know, this
was a bank that was facing quite a few problems. It was in the middle of a restructure. Many of its problems were of its own making -- scandals, many
scandals over the last two years, risks of corporate governance -- sorry, failures of corporate governance, failures of risk management over the
But would this emergency takeover had happened if it wasn't for the fact that the whole sector came under so much pressure and this was a very weak
link, so this was the link that buckled. We'll never really know.
But it came together very quickly over the weekend. As you say, this was very much forced on UBS in some senses by the Swiss government, the Central
Bank, and regulators and it was sweetened, this deal, in terms of lots of government support behind it.
It is important to remember that Credit Suisse, while it had issues over the last few years, was undergoing a restructure and this was a bank that
met all the liquidity and capital requirements that regulators want, which are very strict in Europe, but it was at risk of an uncontrolled collapse.
So a forced takeover was the preferable option. Take a look at how it unfolded.
STEWART (voice over): Emergency steps to settle a panicked financial market.
ALAIN BERSET, SWISS PRESIDENT: The swift and stabilizing solution was absolutely necessary. This solution is the takeover of Credit Suisse by
STEWART (voice over): Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS agreed to by its ailing rival, Credit Suisse on Sunday.
COLM KELLEHER, CHAIRMAN, UBS: I am pleased to be here today as we announce this integration, one that reinforces Switzerland as a leading global
STEWART (voice over): The deal came after a combination of global banking fears and concerns about its own balance sheet sent Credit Suisse shares
plunging, a miserable end for a bank that was once one of the world's biggest.
It was founded in 1856 to finance the expansion of Switzerland's railway. The last few years have been particularly fraught. Its former CEO, Tidjane
Thiam had to resign in 2020 after two spying incidents, amid claims of surveillance carried out to former executives. Thiam said he had no
knowledge of those efforts at the time.
A year later, it lost billions after the collapse of the hedge fund Archegos. Then in 2022, Credit Suisse recorded its worst loss since the
financial crisis in 2008 and was fined $22 million after a Swiss Court found it guilty of failing to stop the laundering of Bulgarian drug money.
It's left the normally staid world of Swiss banking reeling.
URS GREDIG, JOURNALIST, SWISS TELEVISION, SRF: It is also a kind of, you know, a sentiment of maybe shame as well that they didn't succeed and maybe
also anger because this has been discussed about for quite some time, and a lot of people said, just you know, keep your house in order and get things
done, but that it has to be done in that way, is quite a shock for a lot of people.
STEWART (voice over): Whilst one problem may have been solved, investors and customers will be nervously asking what's next.
STEWART: And there are plenty of questions about what is next for UBS and how this sort of force merger is going to work. In reality, it was
interesting looking at the markets today, Credit Suisse opened severely down around 60 percent down. It didn't really move much through the day,
essentially, it is now worth what it is being paid for by UBS, which is a 60 percent discount from Friday.
In terms of UBS, it actually opened with severe losses today. It was trading down some 16 percent at one stage, but has closed the day higher.
Now perhaps this is a sign that with all the discussions, whether it was in Switzerland or beyond with the ECB and the Bank of England, trying to
underline that the banking sector is resilient and is strong, it is well- capitalized, perhaps those messages are getting through and what has been a real collapse in confidence may be easing in Europe, but we'll have to see
over the coming days -- Zain.
ASHER: All right, Anna Stewart, live for us there, thank you so much.
The President of the European Central Bank says the continent's banking sector is resilient. The ECB raised interest rate half a percent last week
despite recent turbulence. The US Federal Reserve will announce its decision on Wednesday.
Speaking earlier, Christine Lagarde said price stability and financial stability are equally important for Central Banks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINE LAGARDE, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK: That I welcome the swift action and the decisions taken by the Swiss authorities. These
actions are instrumental for restoring orderly market conditions and ensuring financial stability.
Let me also remind that we are monitoring market developments closely and stand ready to respond as necessary to preserve price stability and
financial stability in the Euro area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Raghuram Rajan was the Governor of India's Central Bank. He's now a professor at the University of Chicago. He joins us live now from
So give me your sort of prediction for what we're going to see on Wednesday. Do you anticipate the Fed is going to pause here and really
assess what's happening to the banking sector? Or do you anticipate a 25- basis point hike?
RAGHURAM RAJAN, FORMER GOVERNOR, INDIA CENTRAL BANK: Well, I'll give you a conditional prediction. If nothing serious happens between now and
Wednesday, I think the Fed will believe that it has done enough to stabilize the banking system. Of course, we saw some reactions in First
Republic today, but if it feels that at least, the sense that there might be panic is subdued, then it will go with 25, because, you know, doing
nothing, raises the risk that it knows more than it lets on, that there's something deeply problematic.
And of course, there is also the problem that, you know, prices are rising significantly, and its job is not done. So unless it really thinks there's
a deep financial crisis on the way, which will curtail growth significantly and do the best job for it, you know, pausing at this point would be
ASHER: It is interesting. I mean, you talk about the idea of not seeing anything happen between now and Wednesday, but when you think
retrospectively about all that has happened in the past week, be it with Silicon Valley Bank, be it with Signature Bank, be it with First Republic,
I mean, abroad, obviously, there is the Credit Suisse news, that rapid sort of takeover by UBS, hastily announced over the weekend. I mean, the Fed
does have a lot to digest here.
RAJAN: It does. I don't think, you know, when Chairman Powell spoke last time with Congress, that he had on his mind that we would be dealing with a
banking crisis pretty soon.
But that said, I think the issue really is that inflation is also a job undone at this point, and to the extent that they feel the problems within
the banking sector are contained with the sort of support given to depositors with the lending that is happening, they might believe that the
best course is to do 25, while making all the assuaging noises at the same time, yes, we're watching the financial sector, we will do whatever is
needed to support it at this time, and we believe that we've dealt with the most difficult problems so far.
I mean, words to that effect will perhaps have a calming influence in the markets also, while saying they are still continuing on the inflation
issue. Now, they will say, this gives us a month-and-a-half to watch and see what else is happening without signaling to the markets that we have
paused and we will do what it takes.
I mean, if in fact, there are people problems in the financial sector, we might actually, you know, cut rates at that point. But for now, given what
we know, this is what we do.
ASHER: I mean, it's interesting, because it's not just about, you know, shoring up these banks, that is part of it, but it is also about reassuring
depositors, and what I've learned over the past week is that those are two separate things. Just because you shore up the banks and provide money
doesn't necessarily mean that depositors are automatically going to be reassured.
If you end up having a lot of people at the same time pulling their money out of these smaller banks. I mean, you know, that could lead to really
mayhem for the banking sector.
So how does the Fed navigate that aspect of it?
RAJAN: Well, that's what I think they will be watching very carefully and they have a better sense of that than we have, right, because, you
know, to some extent, the depositor outflows are something they would have a sense of.
Now, you know, the real issues have they assuaged the large uninsured depositors? Now, in many small and medium-sized banks, those depositors
also have business links to the bank. They have credit from the bank and they could be stickier than some of the depositors in First Republic or in
Silicon Valley Bank, but that is something the Fed will be paying attention to.
So if there is a silent deposit run going on and as you said, it may well be the corporate treasurers of small or medium sized corporations treasurer
doesn't want their money to be subjected to any kind of risk, even the risk that the Fed will step forward and support those deposits or not. So they
might think the better part of that is to withdraw the deposit and put it in JPMorgan or Citi or Bank of America.
So I think the Fed will be looking at whether there are silent depositor runs going on or whether they've calmed down, and if they are going on, it
would move them more towards zero, but also saying this is not a pause, we are watching. While the system clams down, we will watch, but we're not
done with rates as yet. A lot depends on what happens to inflation going forward.
So they will sort of talk to both sides. But again, I think it depends on the information that is coming to them between now and Wednesday on the
ASHER: Yes, I mean, they have a lot on their plate. I mean, inflation, it is interesting, because headline inflation appears to be sort of going
down ever so slightly, but the core inflation seems to be more entrenched than I think people had anticipated, and that is the last thing you want to
sort of end up as very sticky.
Dr. Rajan, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
All right, when we come back, France's government survives two no- confidence votes as lawmakers walk out of the National Assembly.
ASHER: Emmanuel Macron's government survived two no-confidence votes today in the French National Assembly. The day's dramatic events included
left-wing lawmakers walking out on a speech by the Prime Minister.
There was also jeering by the former presidential candidate and far-right leader, Marie Le Pen who you see here. The first no-confidence vote came
within nine votes of toppling Macron's government. Opponents of his pension reform are now vowing to take their fight to the streets.
Paris had been bracing for another night of protests and unions have already called for a nationwide strike on Thursday.
Sam Kiley is joining us live now from Paris.
So Macron's government survived the no-confidence motion. Just walk us through what happens now.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So on the political level, Zain, this is a proposal that will become law if it gets through the
review by the Constitutional body set up to scrutinize the constitutionality of laws. Now, there is some possibility that the
opposition will argue that the decision by the government of Macron to ram this through the National Assembly without a vote in that Assembly was
unconstitutional, but it has been done a hundred times in the Fifth Republic, so it is not an unusual act in and of itself.
Now on the streets here in Paris, there were spontaneous protests here in the Place Vauban. There were protests about an hour ago, they have since
moved on. They are much smaller demonstrations than had been anticipated. Groups of dozens or so of people are in different parts of the city,
walking around being followed by police burning the garbage that has built up here, following the extended strikes by the garbage collectors in a lot
of the capital city and elsewhere, in response to Emmanuel Macron's plan to raise the pensionable age from 62 to 64.
There have been demonstrations elsewhere in the country. And as you rightly say, Zain, I think all eyes now are going to be what happens on Thursday,
when a much more organized union protest from the private and public sectors is going to be called across the country effectively, a general
strike being announced.
There is a large number of different parts of the economy already running on the limited capacity and more than a third, for example of oil refinery
workers are out on strike that is causing some degree of problems to the economy. There has been a disruption now for some time since the middle of
January in terms of public transport, again, because of strikes, but a big focus now on what will happen on Thursday when they will combine the
opponents of Macron's policy, the anger on the streets with the organizational capacity of the unions here in France in the hope of somehow
getting the Macron administration to back down.
But if they fail, this piece of legislation in all likelihood will go through and it has been a central part of the social and economic reforms
that Macron has announced back as far as 2019 -- Zain.
ASHER: Sam Kiley, live for us there in Paris. Thank you so much.
Volkswagen is making a big expansion in North America. The car maker plans to open two new factories. One is a $2 billion electric vehicle plant in
South Carolina, which will make cars for the Volkswagen-backed Scout brand, the other side has not been chosen yet.
The inflation reduction action sweetened the deal for companies looking to expand electric operations. $50 billion in investments were announced in
the first six months after it, that's according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Scott Keogh is the CEO of Scout Motors.
Scott, thank you so much for being with us. Talk to us a bit more about the two cars that Scout Motors plans to launch in 2026.
SCOTT KEOGH, CEO, SCOUT MOTORS: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.
I think the first thing they're going to be launched under an iconic brand that we're going to bring back to life, Scout Motors. The second thing is
going to be in the heart and soul of the US car market. We're going to launch a rugged SUV, all electric, and of course, a larger pickup truck,
again, all electric. So these are the big profit pools in America and we are excited to get after it.
SOLOMON: And talk to us a bit more about how your operations work. Because from what I understand, and obviously most car companies have these sort of
massive headquarters, but from what I understand, Scout motors actually functions out of a sort of WeWork office just outside of Washington, DC.
Just explain that to us, and just talk to us a bit more about how remote work will be key for Scout Motors' future.
KEOGH: Yes, look, I think as you know, we're a startup. And if you start up, you want to watch overhead, you want to watch CapEx, you want to watch
your investment, you want to be lean and smart. We want to put our money into the goods.
And if you look at the goods, that's of course the car and that is of course, a manufacturing facility. So look, we are in startup phase. Of
course, we will land at a headquarters and we will be more semi-traditional at some point, but we want to be lean, we want to be fast. We want to go
where the talent is and that is exactly what we're doing so far.
ASHER: So will you follow the sort of Tesla model, just in terms of how you're going to get these cars into the hands of consumers? Will you follow
the Tesla model of selling cars directly to consumers? Or will you use the sort of network of Volkswagen dealers that exist obviously across the
United States of which there are hundreds. What is the best way for you to get these cars into the hands of consumers at this point?
KEOGH: Well, Zain, we're going to figure that out. I think first and foremost, Scout is an entirely independent company. We've registered it
that way, we set it up that way, it always was that way, an independent brand.
And so we'll take a look at what's best, but I think you used the key word, "customers." We want to do exactly writes for customers. We want to build
the 21st Century, go to market retail environment, using technology and putting customers first.
Whether we go with a direct to consumer model, or go with the dealer model, that's still to be determined, but we're taking a look at it. I think the
good news, we're focusing on the product, which we have, and we just announced the magnificent factory today.
ASHER: When you think about what the electric vehicle marketplace looks like, I mean, it is crowded, you know. It is a crowded field and there are
plenty of EV manufacturers that haven't gained as much traction as they would have liked to.
What is going to be the sort of one thing that you sort of go to consumers with in terms of what makes you unique? What makes Scout motors standout?
KEOGH: I think one thing is Scout Motors, the other thing is the product. So if I look at Scout Motors, what makes us stand out, resurrecting a much
loved and iconic brand. I think the second thing which is critical is a lot of the challenges companies are having is how to build a car, how to ramp
up, how to secure supply chains.
Obviously, we have the backing of the Volkswagen Group. We have over 200 plants throughout the globe, so we know how to build things. We know how to
secure supply chains, we know how to get good cost out of suppliers. And I think the other secret sauce is we can act more nimble. We can act like a
As opposed to the brand itself, look, it's simple. You have a very simple proposition to the world. You want to offer a car that is super cool, which
we will do, and you want to offer it at a great price. So that's what we're going to do. And yes, I recognize certainly there are some challenges in
the EV marketplace, but I think we've got the right combination to do it.
I think the other thing that's worth looking at is the EV market in America is about five to six points. It's going to move to 50 percent of the
market. So this is a massive transformation.
I think another thing that goes unrecognized is 300 million -- 300 million of internal combustion engine cars driving in America right now. These are
all over time going to be transformed. So yes, competitive marketplace, we love that; but massive opportunity and the time is now, frankly, which is
why we're doing it now.
ASHER: All right, thank you so much for being with us, Scott. We appreciate it.
All right, in a major sign of support for Vladimir Putin, China's President Xi Jinping is in Russia for a three-day State visit. Ukraine is of course
at the top of their agenda.
Heading to Moscow with all the latest, next.
ASHER: Chinese President Xi Jinping is now in Moscow for a three-day state visit days after Russia's Vladimir Putin was hit with an international
arrest warrant for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Putin told Xi, he's ready to discuss Beijing's proposals for resolving the conflict. And here's a
little of what Xi Jinping had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF CHINA (through translator): It is true that both of our countries share the same or similar goals. We have exerted efforts
for the prosperity of our respective countries. We can cooperate and work together to achieve our goals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the world should not be fooled by a peace plan that could end the conflict on Moscow's terms.
Matthew Chance joins us live now from Moscow. So, Matthew, what is the ask here from Vladimir Putin? What does Vladimir Putin want from Xi Jing ping
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a good question and I think what he wants is to know that he's got one of the most
powerful leaders in the world and the Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Standing in his back, giving him whatever kinds of support, he needs as he launches
or continues to launch himself into this confrontation in Ukraine and with the broader West.
This is meant to be an alliance or a relationship which the two leaders. The Russian and Chinese leaders have described this without limits. But
there has been a limit, there's been a limit on the extent to which China will help Russia militarily isn't providing Russia with the kind of
military equipment that it perhaps needs, the ammunition, things like that, to really push it forward on the battlefield.
And I suppose behind the scenes, Putin is going to be looking for sort of any possibility that could -- that that could happen. From the Chinese
point of view, where they've got this peace plan, which they've forwarded last month, it's got 12 points in it, they've been discussing it today.
They'll discuss it tomorrow, as well, at the formal talks were told, that are going to be held between the two leaders.
It calls for peace talks between the Ukrainians and the Russians. But it's stopped short of demanding that Russia withdraw from the territory it's
conquered. And that, of course, is a key Ukrainian demand. And so, that the Chinese want to push forward, their diplomacy as well. They're coming up
with big high, having forged a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran. They want to do the same sort of thing in Ukraine.
The country is left out in the cold in all of this, of course, is Ukraine itself, whereas Vladimir Putin has met Xi Jinping more than 40 times now,
according to Russian state media. That's the count that they've -- they put out there. President Zelenskyy of Ukraine hasn't even had a telephone call
with him yet.
ASHER: Do we expect that to change though in the coming days? I mean, there's been some speculation that there could be a discussion between
Zelenskyy and Xi Jinping
CHANCE: Well, they're definitely speculation that that could -- that could change. That, you know, in the days ahead, there may be a telephone call
scheduled between President Xi and President Zelenskyy of Ukraine. But that has not been confirmed yet. But behind the scenes, I mean, I expect that is
at least being debated. Much will depend on what, you know, on how aggressively if you like.
The Chinese want to push forward this peace plan with the Ukrainians. I mean, if it stands, any chance at all, and of course, the United States and
others very skeptical that it does, then, of course, the Ukrainians have to -- have to be engaged and have to be on board with at least the idea of
coming together around the negotiating table with the -- with the Russians under Chinese auspices.
At the moment, you know, they haven't even really been consulted at the highest level.
ASHER: All right. Matthew Chance for us there. Thank you so much.
Bangladesh has maintained its traditional foreign policy of non-alignment in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Richard Quest travel to the
country's capital Dhaka earlier this month and spoke with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasana -- Hasina. In the first of a two-part exclusive interview,
we're going to show you Richard began by asking the Prime Minister why she hasn't taken a stand against Russia's aggression towards Ukraine.
SHEIKH HASINA, PRIME MINISTER OF BANGLADESH: We believe in peaceful solution. If there is any conflict through dialogue it can be solved but we
never support any kind of invasion or conflict. Bangladesh's foreign policy is very clear. Friendship to all, malice to none, and we follow that. So,
when we see any violation of human rights or any invasion, definitely we oppose it. But what -- it started -- one cannot do it just oneself, both
But I feel that wall should have come forward to stop this war because common people are suffering.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: No one doubts the suffering. But if Russia won't stop and if Russia has invaded the territorial and
sovereignty, integrity of Ukraine, surely you have to stand against that.
HASINA: Listen, I told you that I don't support any kind of invasion. Each country, they have their own right to live with their own territory and
protect own territory, that I believe.
QUEST: The United States believes and is concerned that Bangladesh is getting too close to China, which could of course -- I see you have a wry
smile. You've heard this before, but the U.S. believes you're cozying up to China.
HASINA: Listen, we are close to everybody. China, USA, or India, everybody. Those who support our development, we are with them. China is our
development partner. They're investing here, they are doing some construction. That's all. We are not depend on anybody.
QUEST: Your foreign minister yesterday was very clear talking to me about avoiding the Chinese debt trap. You know, Sri Lanka found itself in exactly
that position. Now, you must be aware that China would like Bangladesh more and more into its sphere of influence.
HASINA: Look, we are very much careful about our taking loan or our development, which is very important for our country from any project, from
which we can get our return, we consider that. But mostly we take loan from the institutions like World Bank, Asian Development Bank or other
institution. So, China, our loan is very low, is very -- it is not like Sri Lanka or anything.
And another thing that we always try our best to develop our country with our own resources. And I told you that unnecessarily we don't take any loan
or any big project. We always consider from which project we can get return. And our people will be beneficiary that we consider.
QUEST: The country took in Rohingya refugees and has been in the position of having to pay for or manage a very large number. Myanmar doesn't seem to
want to take them back. China is obviously putting pressure with -- is -- I mean, in a sense -- is on the Myanmar's side in that sense. What do you
need from the international community to handle this refugee crisis?
HASINE: Well, we call upon international community that they should pursue Myanmar so that they take their citizen back to their home. And not only
that, we also started dialogue with Myanmar government. Unfortunately, they are not responding properly.
QUEST: It's trying to putting you in a difficult position because China is friendly with Myanmar. Myanmar won't take back the refugees. They won't
give the guarantees. You're left with a lot of refugees and a bill to pay.
HASINA: Well, we already talked to China and we requested them to put pressure not only China, with ASEAN country, Japan, even USA, even other
country, everybody we requested that please put pressure to Myanmar so that they take the citizen back to their country.
Unfortunately, Myanmar government is not listening to anybody. That is the problem. But I think international community should put more pressure
because for us it is a big burden, you know, already our country is overpopulated country.
So, I have to feed them, I have to ensure their basic needs. But this is extra burden. But yes, on humanitarian grounds, we give them shelter
because we suffer same thing in 1971. So, we know the sorrow and pain. That's why we have given them the shoulder. And yes, we are looking after
ASHER: That was Richard Quest speaking with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. We're going to have plenty more on Bangladesh in the coming
days. Starting with part two of that interview with Bangladesh Prime Minister. Tomorrow, Richard is going to be tackling the country's economic
issues, LGBT rights. And he will ask Sheikh Hasina about her plans for the upcoming election.
All right. Thank you so much for being with us, everyone. That was QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Zain Asher in New York. Coming up next is Africa Avant-