Nepal-China relations to be reviewed

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Kathmandu: President Bidya Devi Bhandari left for a nine-day state visit to the People's Republic of China today at the invitation of her Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

This is the first state visit by the President to the northern neighbour after the country was declared the federal democratic republic and the visit is to witness discussions and agreements on bilateral and multilateral issues.

The two close neighbours had established the diplomatic ties on August 1, 1955 and this relation is based on friendship and mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, peaceful co-existence, the Five Principles, as spelled out by the Panchasheel doctrine.

On the same basis, during the visit all aspects concerning the Nepal-China relations will be reviewed and priorities of the relations will be discussed, said Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shanker Das Bairagi who is one of the members on the President’s entourage.

Opening Ceremony of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation will take place on April 26 and a joint communique will be issued on April 27. A high-level meeting and a roundtable discussion (among leaders) have been scheduled during the same occasion.

Ministerial-level meetings relating to the sectors of commerce, physical infrastructure and women will be held on the sidelines of the meeting. Leaders from 40 countries in the world, representatives from 150 countries and the United Nations and several international and regional organisations will be participating in the Forum. A high-level meeting and a conference of thematic forum and trade CEOs will be held during the gathering.

The theme of the conference is ‘Belt and Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future’. Secretary Bairagi said the forum would be focussed on issues targeting the BRI and related to infrastructure development, priority to Trans Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network and getting multi-purpose economic benefit by establishing relation among people.

He said that it would help increase Nepal's connectivity to other countries through BRI. Nepal has its embassy in Beijing, Consulate General at Hong Kong, Lhasa and Guangzhou and honorary consul in Shanghai. Memorandum of Understanding would be signed under the Transport and Transit agreement between the two countries during the visit, said Bairagi, adding that Nepal can use transport and transit facility by utilizing China's sea and dry-port due to this.

Similarly, discussion on various issues including customs facility would be held during the visit. Bilateral talks would be held with standing committee member of Chinese Communist Party and Secretary of Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Zhao Leji. China has been Nepal's major development partner since the two countries signed an agreement on economic cooperation in 1956.

Foreign Secretary Bairagi said that China has been assisting Nepal in infrastructure development, road construction, construction of convention hall and establishment of fuel storage facilities, among other areas. He said usully it is difficult to mobilize support in these sectors. China has made a tremendous progress in poverty alleviation with the introduction of the 'reforms and opening up' period in 1978.

It is estimated that China has been able to extricate around 800 million of its people from poverty. China has wanted to share its experience on this theme with the rest of the world through BRI. In the view of Foreign Secretary Bairagi, in Nepal also poverty could be reduced by means of employment generation, savings, capital formation and productivity.

He said the incumbent government has been effortful towards having the situation of 'prosperous Nepal, happy Nepali' through participation, proportionate economic growth, equitable distribution and social justice. The Foreign Secretary believed that President's current state visit would be fruitful also because it is necessary to bring capital and technology in the country in the national interest since internal sources alone would not be sufficient to achieve big development in the infrastructure, transportation, trade and tourism sectors.

Stating that Nepal has been conducting its activities in keeping with an independent and balanced foreign policy, he said it has harboured no enmity with any country and has fostered friendly relations with all. Foreign Secretary Bairagi expressed the conviction that President Bhandari's current state visit to China would build a new dimension on the bilateral ties. RSS