General

China invites President Bhandari to visit in April

- ANIL GIRI, ANUJ ADHIKARI, KATHMANDU & BEIJING

Dec 14, 2018-

Beijing has said it will pursue high-level political exchanges with Nepal, revealing that President Bidya Devi Bhandari would visit China in April next year at the invitation of her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

In a meeting with Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi in Beijing on Thursday, State Councilor and Minister for Foreign Affairs China Wang Yi said the Chinese side welcomes Nepali leaders to China next year for the second Belt and Road Forum, the flagship initiative of the Chinese president. China has repeated its pledge to Nepali leaders that Xi will visit Nepal shortly.

The Chinese leader has already visited the South Asian countries except for Nepal and Bhutan. In Kathmandu, Chinese officials and diplomats have indicated that Xi could visit Nepal in the first half of 2019.

In her farewell calls on political leaders and officials, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yu Hong and other visiting Chinese leaders and diplomats have started inquiring about Xi’s possible visit to Nepal in the near future.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Nepal is an important partner for implementing the Belt and Road Initiative as it would provide important impetus to the development of bilateral relations and would brighten prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation.

Bairagi is in Beijing leading a Nepali delegation to the 12th round of Nepal-China bilateral consultative meeting. Wang recalled Nepali Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to China earlier this year during which the two leaderships agreed to build “a community with shared future” between the two countries.

Nepal attaches great importance to its relations with China, Bairagi remarked, adding that Kathmandu firmly adheres to the one-China policy and values the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

Bairagi is learnt to have said that Nepal is looking forward to strengthening high-level exchanges between the two countries while calling for continued support from China.

According to the Nepali Embassy in Beijing, the two sides held substantive and fruitful discussions on bilateral relations. In a statement, both sides underlined the need to further enhance bilateral relations through close

and productive engagements in areas of mutual interest, including connectivity,

infrastructure development, trade, investment, and energy.

Both sides agreed to implement past agreements and to prioritise bilateral projects. The next meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism will be held in Kathmandu. The two countries established the mechanism in 1995 to review areas of cooperation and to resolve issues.

Recent agreements with the northern neighbour on railway and transport-transit have taken bilateral ties to a new high. Sushil Lamsal, deputy chief of mission at the Nepali Embassy, said that railway, roadways, infrastructure, ports, energy cooperation and investment projects were discussed under the framework of Trans-Himalayan Multidimensional Connectivity Network.

Published: 14-12-2018 08:09

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