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Foreign Minister Gyawali set to visit China on April 16

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
The visit will focus on laying the groundwork for PM Oli’s visit to China, sources say

Apr 12, 2018-The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has started preparing for Foreign Minister Pradip Gyawali’s official visit to China that is likely to begin on April 16.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent an invitation to Gyawali on Sunday through the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu.

The foreign minister’s visit comes close on the heels of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to India. It conforms to Nepal’s foreign policy of engaging with its immediate neighbours to build trust.

The visit, according to the sources, will focus on laying the groundwork for PM Oli’s visit to the northern neighbour, discuss the status of the Chinese-funded projects in Nepal and exploring more areas of cooperation,

including expediting past agreements, and new areas under the Belt and Road Initiative and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

At a time when PM Oli has announced to pursue balanced and non-aligned foreign policy, Gyawali’s visit is keenly followed in Kathmandu.

The visit would give an idea how Beijing engages with the Oli government that has a strong political mandate.

Oli, who had signed a landmark Transit Agreement with Beijing during his previous tenure as the PM and opened up new areas of cooperation with China, is under pressure to move on identifying and expediting projects under the BRI—Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy plan to build a new ‘Silk Road’ for trade links between China and Eurasia.

After the Chinese invitation, the Foreign Ministry decided to propose a visit beginning on April 16, multiple sources at the ministry said. “We will make an announcement regarding the visit soon,” said a ministry source. 

According to the source, Gyawali leaves Kathmandu on April 16 for Beijing. He will hold high-level meetings with his counterpart Wang and other senior government officials. Preparations are also under way to fix a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Gyawali will spend two days in Beijing where he will meet senior leaders and officials and head for Sichuwan Province before returning to Kathmandu. In Sichuwan, he will meet senior Chinese officials and leaders.

On PM Oli’s visit to China, Bishnu Rimal, chief adviser to the Prime Minister Oli said it is not possible for any foreign visit ahead on May 29.

“The PM will not embark on any foreign visit ahead of the budget as he has to focus on domestic fronts, including preparing government policies and programmes. Foreign visits take place only after the budget presentation,” he added.

PM Oli has already received an invitation from his Chinese counterpart Li to visit China. Chinese President Xi is likely to reciprocate a visit to Nepal in second half of this year.

Published: 12-04-2018 08:17

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