Friday, 24 May, 2024

A Boost To Relations

Nepal is all set to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu on Saturday (October 12) for a two-day State visit to Nepal. President Xi is paying his visit to Nepal at the invitation of President Bidya Devi Bhandari. The Government of Nepal as well as Nepali people are now looking forward to President Xi’s historic visit as the Chinese leader is coming here after Jiang Zamin, who had paid his sojourn to Nepal back in 1996. Nepal and China have wanted to make President Xi’s visit highly productive and successful from all perspectives in taking the bilateral relations to newer heights. Nepal’s President Bhandari paid her visit to China in April to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli also visited the northern neighbour in June 2018. Similarly, Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun visited China in September last year to attend the 17th Western China International Fair in Chengdu of Sichuan Province.

In the recent exchange of high-level visits, the two nations have reached deals on developing traditional friendship between the two friendly nations, enhancing Belt and Road cooperation, constructing trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations in 1955, the bilateral ties have been based on mutual respect and trust. The two nations follow the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. The relations have also been guided by equality, friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation. It goes without saying that China is a key trade and development partner of Nepal in South Asia. The two-way trade reached US$ 1.1 billion and Chinese investments in Nepal reached US$300 million in 2018. Being an active participant in the Belt and Road Initiative, Nepal is joining hands with her northern neighbour to work on a number of infrastructure projects. Under such projects, highways, ports, airports and power plants will be built or upgraded. Therefore, a trans-Himalayan connectivity network is in the process of taking its shape. Nepal is firm on one-China policy and does not allow any force to use her territory for anti-China activities.

As part of making preparations for the impending visit, Prime Minister Oli held consultations with experts as well as former PMs and foreign ministers in the capital on Thursday. Speaking at the discussion, Prime Minister Oli hoped that the upcoming visit of President Xi would help boost the historic and cordial relations between the two immediate and intimate neighbours. He further said that Nepal would focus on discussions with China by putting the national interest at the centre. Nepal aims to discuss the investment model of the proposed Kerung-Kathmandu railway project with the high-level Chinese delegation. During the high-level visit, the two nations will sign bilateral agreements on several infrastructure projects and cooperation. Bilateral tourism is one of the important bilateral cooperation. It may be recalled here that Nepal is the first South Asian nation to be designated as approved destination for Chinese tourists. With the expansion of air connectivity between the two nations, the people-to-people contacts have also been getting consolidated over the years. President Xi’s historic visit is expected to be instrumental in taking the bilateral relations to new heights.