Kathmandu, Mar. 27: Nepal and China have agreed for the feasibility study of cross-border power grid connection. Visiting Chinese State Councilor and Minister for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and Nepal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Narayan Khadka witnessed the signing of the agreement and exchange of documents at a bilateral meeting held at Singha Durbar on Saturday.
Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Devendra Karki and Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi signed the agreement. With installed capacity of about 1,800 megawatt, Nepal aims at exporting energy to India to decrease the trade deficit. With the inking of new agreement with China, Nepal wants to open gateways for energy trade with China as well.
A nine-point agreement was signed between the two countries at the delegation-level meeting. They include agreements for economic and technical cooperation for the feasibility study of inter-country railway project, maintenance of Arniko Highway (third phase), and cooperation in the railway sector.
Similarly, Nepal’s grass export to China, duty free transaction of 98 per cent goods from China in Nepal, supplying 4 million doses of Sinovac vaccine to Nepal, and sending a team of Chinese doctors to BP Koirala Cancer Hospital in Bharatpur Chitwan are other components of the bilateral agreement signed between the two countries. Secretaries of the concerned ministries and Chinese Ambassador and other government officials signed the agreements.
On the occasion, the two ministers discussed all important aspects of Nepal-China relations and cooperation. “They underscored the importance of the exchange of high-level visits on a regular basis in order to strengthen mutual trust and confidence and to further consolidate Nepal-China relations,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a statement issued Saturday night. FM Dr. Khadka reiterated Nepal’s commitment to One China policy and not to allow any activity against China in Nepali territory. Both sides reaffirmed their support for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national independence of each other.
Dr. Khadka appreciated the Chinese government’s efforts for consistently supporting Nepal’s development endeavours, and thanked it side for the completion of development projects such as Araniko Highway Long-term Opening Maintenance Project (Phase III) and Pokhara International Regional Airport.
The two Foreign Ministers also underscored the need for concerted efforts from both sides to expedite the execution of ongoing projects as well as to implement the agreements and understandings reached between the two countries during high-level visits, read the statement.
FM Wang assured that China will be providing development assistance committed to Nepal by President Xi Jinping during his State Visit to Nepal in October 2019. The two foreign ministers stressed the need to have continued partnership in order to overcome the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and to focus on COVID-19 response and recovery.
During the talks, both sides also focused on issues relating to trade, investment and tourism. According to the MoFA, the two ministers underscored the need for fully operationalising the Tatopani/Zhangmu and Rasuwagadi/Kerung border ports for two-way movement of goods between Nepal and China.
The two ministers have instructed their relevant authorities to work together to this end. “With a view to promoting tourism and people-to-people contacts between the two countries, the two Foreign Ministers agreed to resume, at an early date, the passenger air services suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” read the MoFA statement.
Underlining the importance of continuously maintaining Nepal-China border peaceful and tranquil in the spirit of the Boundary treaty, the two foreign ministers agreed to carry out joint inspection of Nepal-China boundary through mutual consultation.
FM Wang assured Dr. Khadka of the full cooperation of the Chinese government to facilitate the return of Nepali students to China to continue their studies on a priority basis and agreed to start the process at the earliest.
The two Ministers also discussed about continuing cooperation in various regional and multilateral forums on matters of mutual interests. As per the Agreement on Economic & Technical Cooperation, China has agreed to provide Nepal with a grant of RMB 600 million for the year 2020. The grant will be utilised for the projects mutually agreed upon between the two Governments.
Wang had arrived in Kathmandu on Friday for a three-day official visit to Nepal at the invitation of Foreign Minister Dr. Khadka. This is the first high level exchange from the northern neighbour after the formation of the government led by Prime Minister Deuba in July 2021. FM Wang is scheduled to pay courtesy call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Sunday. He will also meet former PM and chairman of CPN (UML) KP Sharma Oli and former PM and chairman of CPN (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' on Sunday.
FM Wang is leading a 20-member delegation, including China's Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi, Assistant Minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Commerce, Wu Jianghao and Sheng Qiuping respectively.
Likewise, Nepali delegation led by Dr. Khadka includes Foreign Secretary Paudyal, and secretaries of Ministry of Finance, Tourism, Home Affairs, Energy, Agriculture, Industry, Physical Infrastructure, Health, and Land Management, and high officials from the MoFA.
The Chinese FM had arrived in Kathmandu after concluding his visit to Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. He will depart for Beijing by a special aircraft Sunday afternoon. Wang had made a 3-day sojourn of Nepal in 2019 September, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit China and the world, to make preparations for the official visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping who visited Nepal in October that year.