PM leaves for China today

  • No agreement against national interest, Oli tells House
- ANIL GIRI, BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

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.”

On the agenda

  • Upgradation of two ‘friendship’ bridges in Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi
  • Formation of a joint mechanism to facilitate implementation of China-funded projects in Nepal
  • Private sectors of Nepal and China will sign agreement on developing power plants from the Marsyangdi cascade, pashmina promotion and agriculture
  • Memoranda of understanding on carrying out survey of Kerung-Kathmandu Railway, utilisation of RMB 1 billion Chinese reconstruction aid, formalisation of opening eight trading points with Nepal, and use of Tibetan highways for ferrying logistics and goods in northern parts of Nepal
  • New border check points at Uripas of Bajhang, two each at Rasuwagadhi and Tinkar of Darchula, two at Tiplapas of Taplejung and one at Hilsa of Humla for trade with China’s Tibet
  • Part of the Belt and Road Initiative—north-south corridors, exhibition centres, free trade zones, six integrated check posts on Nepal-China border, upgradation of some roads, rainwater harvest, Outer Ring Road in Kathmandu, establishment of a new city in Surkhet, and some irrigation projects

 

Itinerary of prime minister’s visit

Tuesday

9:00AM    Depart for Beijing by a Himalaya Airlines Special Aircraft

17:15PM    Arrive in Beijing

18:00PM   Attend reception hosted by Ambassador Leelamani Paudyal at the Nepal Embassy

Wednesday

8:00AM    Meeting with embassy officials and Nepalis living in China

19:40AM    Attend China-Nepal Business Forum-2018 at CCIPT

15:40PM    Visit to Tienanmen Square

16:00 to 16:40PM    Meeting with President Xi Jinping of China

17:00PM    Interview with CCTV

17:30PM    Meeting with Jin Liquan, president of AIIB

Thursday

8:30AM    Attend Nepal-China Friendship Run at Beijing University

of Sports

9:30AM    Visit to the Party School of CPC and hold discussion

16:00PM    Meeting with the Chairman of Standing Committee of National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu at the Great Hall of the People

17:00PM    Meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People

17:15 to 18:00PM    Delegation level talks followed by signing ceremony of some MoUs and understanding

18:10 to 19:00PM    Dinner hosted by the Chinese Premier Li

Friday

08:15AM    Depart for Lhasa

14:55PM    Arrive in Lhasa

15:55PM    Arrive in Office of the Nepali consulate in Lhasa and interact with Nepali nationals

18:30PM    Dinner hosted by Nepal’s consular general in Lhasa

Saturday

9:30AM    Visit to Potala Palace

11:30AM    Visit to Jokhang Temple

15:20PM    Visiting QuShui Agriculture Project

18:00PM    Meeting with the Qi Zhala, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, followed by dinner

Sunday

11:50AM    Leave Lhasa for Kathmandu

Published: 19-06-2018 07:18

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