PM leaves for China today

  • No agreement against national interest, Oli tells House

Jun 19, 2018-

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli embarks on a six-day official visit to China on Tuesday. Deepening ties with the top Chinese leadership, exploring new areas of cooperation with Beijing and signing new agreements with China based on the 10 points of agreement reached during Oli’s visit in 2016 are high on the agenda.

PM Oli will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on Wednesday and his counterpart Li Keqiang on Thursday. After the visit, officials said, China is likely to announce a significant aid or project for Nepal to showcase its deep attachment to Nepal at a time when a stable government in Kathmandu has pledged the people prosperity.

The two countries, however, are unlikely to sign the Protocol to Transit and Transportation Agreement signed during Oli’s visit to China two years ago. It may be signed in July, said officials.

Attracting Chinese investments in sectors of Nepal’s comparative advantage and minimising trade deficit will be the major focus of the visit.

Briefing the House of Representatives on his second visit to the northern neighbour in his two tenures as PM, Oli on Monday said every agreement and discussion in Beijing would be guided by “our national interests and dignity” in a transparent manner. At the invitation of Premier Li, Oli is paying the visit leading a 120-member delegation.

PM Oli will also meet with Jin Liquan, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to explore projects to be financed by the Chinese-led institution.

PM Oli informed the House that Nepal will be looking for Chinese support in three areas—direct aid, cooperation and joint investments. “China as a neighbour has always had cordial relations with us and has long been supporting us,” he said.

Without specifying projects, the PM claimed that there would be new agreements in energy and power transmission, railway connectivity, post-earthquake reconstruction and border entry points. He said focus would also be on reaping optimum benefits from China’s Belt and Road Initiative that promotes multifaceted and multidimensional connectivity with neighbours.

“We’ve identified some projects and forwarded the list. The funding modalities of these projects will be discussed in Beijing,” said a senior official privy to negotiations with the Chinese side.

“Expediting the pace of development is the sole agenda of the incumbent government. The visit will focus primarily on generating support from the northern neighbour in this regard,” PM Oli told Parliament. Attracting more Chinese tourists and investors in productive sectors is another priority.

The PM spent a significant part of his 20-minute address to highlight the gains his government made in bilateral relations with Nepal’s two immediate neighbours. Oli presented the closure of the Indian field office in Biratnagar, increasing air routes, survey of Kathmandu-Birgunj railways, homework in revising the 1950 Treaty by Eminent Persons Group and the joint study from Nepal and India on inundation in the Tarai as the major achievements of his government on that front.

“We understand the sensitivity of China and assure that we are committed to one China policy,” said Oli. “We don’t allow any activities against China on our land.”

Published: 19-06-2018 08:17

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