President’s China Visit and BRI

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President Bidhyadevi Bhandari has recently visited the People’s Republic of China. The visit has also been termed as the ‘state visit’, and it has the solid reason to term it so.

If the rationale of ‘state visit’ solely relies on the Chinese president Xi Jinping’s offer of the guard of honor to her as the best of honor a sovereign nation can extend to the head of the state of any other sovereign nation, it wobbly—he did so to every visiting head of the state on the occasion. We must find some other reasons that actually supports the term through action. 

As president Bhandari put her feet on the red-carpeted pavement of Dongcheng, Tiananmen Square, at the heart of Beijing accompanied by her Chinese counterpart, the entire Nepal might have illuminated with the pride and glory. Nepal, though, is an economically and militarily insignificant country; China has always put it first in terms of prioritizing neighborly relationship.

 

Nepal has come of age. It does not need any external so-called influence on naviagating its foreign policy.  Now, it can afford to deny anyone's unilateral 'most-favoured nation's status'.


In fact, as Nepal proceeds towards broader international platform, some might envy it. Today's Nepal and its people and leaders know very well how to row the boat of national identity into the all weather rough sea of global politics. 

Nepal has come of age. It does not need any external so-called influence on naviagating it foreign policy. It has now been a country that can handle its domestic as well as overseas affairs and pursue the suitable course on its behalf. Now, it can afford to deny anyone's unilateral 'most favoured nation's status'. History has taught it the lessons how not to be fooled by the wily words of regional powers and their illusive moves.

In fact, China has always stood on Nepal's side whenever it is in trouble--a proven global friend for the least developed nations like Nepal which are, in the age of US-led dominion of unipolarity that advocates survival for the most brutal, struggling for safeguarding their sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity in ethnic diversities.
 
The foundation of BRI comprises of five major long-term goals. They are: policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and connecting people. 

This visit has surfaced some curious questions on centuries-long Sino-Nepal relations viz a viz its relations among the rest of the regional powers including India, Japan and South Korea. 

The high profile visit of the Nepal’s head of the state has put forward its two dimensions: first, leading the Nepalese delegates to the BRF annual summit; second, salvaging assistances and supports on various sectors for Nepal’s drive towards prosperity through enrichment of the Nepal-China bilateral relations.

The visit has also held an importance in order to balance overwhelming trade deficits with India—Nepal’s only access to the sea via Indian routes has on again off again paralyzed the Nepalese economy.

In addition, Nepal’s relentless efforts to gain sea access via Chinese ports have to be translated into best results through track-two diplomacy.

And, China for Nepal, in this era, matters more than any other nations in the world for Nepal needs financial, social and political stabilities that can only be achieved if there are the continuous supports by the rising global powers and next-door neighbor like China. That’s the basic reason why Nepal emphasizes urgency of BRI. 

Nepal has been closely observing and participating almost every BRI-related event ever since it was proposed to the global community in 2013 by China’s President Xi Jinping.

It looks like an ambitious program for conventional global powers-USA, UK, countries in European Union, Japan and India. But this project is all inclusive and precisely meant for connecting Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors because its aim is to improve regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth. 

President Xi has drawn inspiration from the concept of the Silk Road established during the Han Dynasty 2,000 years ago.  That was an ancient network of trade routes connecting China to the Mediterranean through Eurasia for centuries. It is also known as 'One Belt One Road' initiation. 

 

The foundation of BRI comprises of five major long-term goals. They are: policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and connecting people.


Nepal’s geostrategic location has kept it under the worst circumstances that have restricted it for easy access to the high sea routes which are the most essential factor for global trade.

Though, Nepal possesses bounty of mother nature-the natural resources that include fresh water rivers with ample potentialities of generating hydropower, minerals, hydrocarbons, beautiful landscapes and what not, the land-locked situation has thoroughly confined it from exploring and welcoming global investors for all-round development on every sector.  
 
It is Nepal’s bounty to have a neighbor like China in this multi-polar world because China’s economy is very much associated with the world economy.

China has promised to the global community through the multilateral fora across the world that it “will stay committed to the basic policy of opening-up, build a new pattern of all-around opening-up, and integrate itself deeper into the world economic system”. 

The project of BRI is meant to enable China to further broaden its opening-up and strengthening its mutually beneficial cooperation with countries across the world. China is committed to accept more responsibilities and obligations within its capabilities, and making greater contributions to the peace and development of mankind.

Nepal needs precisely the same initiations on behalf of its socio-economic growth and development. BRF is such a platform for Nepal because China’s this ‘Initiative is harmonious and inclusive’. It has also promised to advocate ‘tolerance among civilizations, respect the paths and modes of development’ undertaken by different countries. 

Nepal’s geostrategic location has kept it under the worst circumstances that have restricted it for easy access to the high sea roots which are the most essential factor for global trade.


Additionally, it insists continuing to support ‘dialogues among different civilizations on the principles of seeking common ground’ respecting differences among the global communities in order to enhance co-‘existence in peace for common prosperity’ of the countries of the world.

The respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of every nation of the world is the key concern for every participating nation at BRF.  Furthermore, the joint statement agreed at the end guarantees the right and primary responsibility of each country to define its development strategies according to its national priorities and uniqueness of legal frameworks. 

President Xi put forward BRI's prime objective towards better human future. He further emphasized that the BRI must be open, clean and green and follows high standards, people-centered sustainable approach. He highlighted its significance to enhance the United Nations' sustainable development agenda. 

The joint statement of the BRF summit reveals that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation should respects openness, transparency, inclusiveness and level playing field with complete affirmation of the respect for national sovereignty.

 

China's Belt and Road Initiative is the story of the power of multilateralism versus the glory of unilateralism.
                                                                          -Sam Natapoff


Thus, Nepal has signed the bilateral agreements with China for mutual obligations and benefits. The agreements that have taken place are: 
a.     Protocol to the Agreement on Transit Transport
b.    Handover Certificate of Grant-Aid for the Repair and Reinforcement Project of the Existing China-aided               Projects
c.    Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters
d.    Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Standardization
e.    Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation
f.    Minutes of Meeting on Strengthening Assistance Cooperation in the Field of Livelihood in the Northern                Region of Nepal
g.   Agreement on Preventing Theft, Clandestine Excavation and Illicit Export Import of Cultural Property
It’s said that under the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation, the Government of the People’s Republic of China will provide the Government of Nepal a grant assistance of RMB 1 billion for the implementation of mutually agreed projects in the fields of livelihood improvement, post-disaster reconstruction and infrastructure.

Long Live Nepal-China Friendship!