Thursday, 18 July, 2024

Chinese FM Wang Yi to hold diplomatic talks


By Modnath Dhakal
Kathmandu, Sept. 9:Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who arrived in the Capital on Sunday evening for a 3-day official visit is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Monday.

He will also call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on monday.

During his meeting with the President and PM, Wang will discuss about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and China funded projects in Nepal.

There will be delegation-level talks between the two foreign ministers.

Modernisation of the border points at Rasuwagadhi and Tatopani and development of dry port at Timure of Rasuwa district are the agenda of discussion between the foreign ministers bilateral meeting, said the MoFA.

This is the first visit of the Chinese foreign minister after the formation of present government. Earlier, Wang had made visited Nepal in 2015 to participate in the conference of Nepal’s reconstruction in the immediate aftermath of the devastating Gorkha Earthquake.

In August 2014, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, as a special envoy of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ had visited China and held a bilateral meeting with him.

Similarly, during FM Gyawali’s visit to China last year, Nepal and China had agreed to implement all the past agreements, including those signed during the visit of erstwhile PM Oli and Prachanda.
The two neighbours had agreed to cooperate in the development of cross-border railways, roads, aviation, communication and transmission lines.

Upper Trishuli Hydropower, Kathmandu Ring Road Improvement, Larcha and Timure Frontier Inspection Station, Pokhara International Airport, Syaprubensi-Rasuwagadhi Road upgradation, Civil Service Hospital upgradation and Kodari Highway upgradation and restoration of bordering bridges at Kodari and Rasuwagadhi are the major ongoing Chinese projects in Nepal.

Under the BRI, Nepal expects Chinese financial and technical cooperation in large infrastructure projects like hydroelectricity, railways, roads, bridges, tunnel and irrigation.

Minister Wang will also call on Nepal Communist Party Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Nepali Congress Chairman Sher Bahadur Deuba on Monday. He will leave Kathmandu for Beijing on Tuesday.

Nepal is waiting for a top level visit from China and wants to welcome President Xi Jinping. Although there have been positive response from the Chinese side, the date is not been fixed yet. Although there had been multiple top level Nepali visit to China, there are no reciprocal visit from the latter since the then Premier Wen Jiabao visited Nepal in January 2012.

However, there were high level visits of State Councilor Yang Jiechi in 2013, Member of Political Bureau and Secretariat of Communist Party of China Liu Qibao, State Councilor and Defense Minister General Chang Wanquan in 2017, and Minister for Culture and Tourism Luo Shugang in 2018.

China is the second largest trading partner of Nepal and second largest source country for tourist arrival.

The size of trade between the two countries has reached Rs. 207 billion in 2018/19. Nepal exported goods worth Rs. 2.10 billion to China and imported goods of Rs. 205 billion.

Nepal wants to improve its trade balance with the northern neighbor and has been asking the latter to provide preference to the products that Nepal has comparative and competitive advantage in the Chinese Market.

Likewise, about 153,633 Chinese tourists came to Nepal in 2018 which is 13.10 per cent of the total tourist arrival in Nepal. The country aims at welcoming more Chinese tourists during the Visit Nepal Year 2020.