Monday, 27 May, 2024
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OPINION

President Xi’s Nepal Visit



Hiranyalal Shrestha

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s forthcoming visit to Nepal is significant from bilateral, regional and global perspectives. President Jiang Zemin visited Nepal on December 4, 1996, on a two-day state visit. After 23 years, President Xi Jin Ping is visiting Nepal. It will fill the gap, and consolidate bilateral relationship to a new height. Nepali people are now eagerly waiting to warmly welcome the Chinese President Xi.
President Xi Jinping is the founder of modern Silk Road vision, who launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Nepal being a land-locked country, BRI provides Nepal alternative sea port and dry port facilities to trade with third countries. No country can impose blockade as before. Thus Nepal is now a land-linked country instead of land-locked country. In this context, President Xi Jinping’s visit is a landmark event in bilateral relationships to overcome limitations of being a landlocked nation.
China considers Nepali dry port Gyrong as a gateway to South Asia. Railway linkage will bring world’s two largest markets China and South Asia closer passing through Nepali territory. As the two largest markets interact for Asian prosperity; Nepal will benefit as a transit country.
BRI financial institutions provide soft loans to Nepal in infrastructure building and other BRI projects in Nepal. AIIB and other Chinese banks are willing to extend soft loan facilities to BRI countries like Nepal.
Nepal’s first channel of interaction with China is China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region(TAR). Nepal has 1,414 km long common border with TAR of China. Nepal is largest market of TAR. In 2018, more than half of TAR’s export went to Nepal. President Xi Jinping’s Nepal visit will create conducive atmosphere to further promote trade between Nepal and China’s TAR in the coming days.
China has common land borders with five South Asian countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Without better connectivity and mutual understanding and co-operation between China and South Asian countries, peace, stability, and development are not possible in the South Asian region.
China is linked with three SAARC countries Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives through 21stcentury maritime Silk Road in the Indo Pacific region. So, SAARC should be reactivated and the relation between China and SAARC countries should be promoted. Nepal is one of the SAARC countries which has proposed China’s admission to this regional body as a dialogue partner.
Geopolitically, Nepal is between China and India and it has no choice to choose one neighbor against another, but maintain a balanced relationship with both the neighbours. Therefore, no to China or no to India is not possible but there is the need to deal both with India and China simultaneously. So, trilateral co-operation is a must in this region.
President Xi Jinping is a mature politician and shroud diplomat. He does not like to push India into the American camp. So, he is trying to win over India, and if not possible, he likes to keep India neutral in the Sino-American conflict. President Xi is lunching a series of Uhan dialogue with India. It will contribute to bringing closer regional cooperation between China and South Asia.
Afro-Asian countries are in favour of a multi-polar world. They don’t like the unipolar world domination and dictations of the US. The US wants to use Nepali soil against China, supporting separatist Dalai Lama’s cliques. Nepal is in favour of the 'One China policy'. Nepali Army disarmed Khampa rebellion operating in Mustang District against China and its gang leader Gewangdi was killed and arms from his followers were seized. Thus a global conspiracy against China was foiled.
There is a broad consensus against the US trade war. China, India, Russia, and other BRICS countries are cooperating with each other to counter the US trade war. President Xi’s India and Nepal visit will further consolidate global multilateral trade mechanism.
President Xi projects China as a civilisation state and lunches pragmatic soft power diplomacy. His visit shall promote cultural relations between China and Nepal and other South Asia countries.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s Nepal visit on September 8-10, 2019 has paved favourable ground for President Xi’s forth coming visit to Nepal. Nepal and China signed three cooperation agreements i.e. hospital in Manang district, five thousand tents provided for emergency relief works and Chinese language classes in Nepal providing volunteer teachers from China. This visit has expedited the implementation of various projects that Nepal and China have agreed in the past.
Recently, there is a successful joint military exercise between Nepal and China in Nepal. Thus we find the multi-dimensional relationship flourishing. President Xi’s visit to Nepal will create a new milestone. It will have a positive impact on the cause of regional and international peace, security and global inclusive development.

(Hiranyalal Shrestha is a senior writer and a deplomat)