Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday vowed to help Nepal transform itself from a landlocked country to a landlocked nation by facilitating infrastructure connectivity and transit cooperation, as he met Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.
Xi met Prachanda on the sidelines of the Asian Games in Hangzhou in eastern China.
Prachanda, who politically distanced himself from the pro-Chinese Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) led by KP Oli after becoming prime minister in December last year, made his first visit to China after visiting India and the US .
During his meeting with Prachanda, Xi, who made a high-profile visit to Nepal in 2019 and announced several high-profile projects, said the two countries sharing borders through Tibet have made progress on the ‘Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network’ and other ‘Belt and Road’ projects that have “taken shape”.
He urged efforts by both sides to promote infrastructure connectivity and expand transit cooperation to help Nepal transform itself from a landlocked country to a landlocked country at an early stage, the state news agency Xinhua quoted him as saying.
The trans-Himalayan connectivity projects include road and rail links being constructed through the rugged Himalayan mountains connecting Nepal to Tibet.
Being a landlocked country, a large portion of imports pass through India. China wants to help reduce Nepal’s dependence on India as part of efforts to expand its own influence.
However, critics say most Chinese projects in Nepal stalled, including border infrastructure, when Beijing closed its borders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nepal signed a transport-transit agreement to access seven ports in China; nine BRI projects were selected and the umbrella concept “Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network” was presented, improving cross-border cooperation,” said Pragya Ghimire from the Institute of Foreign Affairs, Nepal.
“When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Nepal in 2019, the two countries signed seven bilateral agreements, but most of them were not implemented,” she wrote in an article published in Nepalese daily Kathmandu Post, ahead of Dahal’s eight-day visit, in which he is scheduled to visit Tibet.
During his meeting with Prachanda, Xi said: “The two sides should always understand and support each other on issues involving each other’s core interests and major concerns, and continuously consolidate the political basis of bilateral relations.”
Prachanda, on his part, said Xi is a visionary world leader and a good friend of all Nepalis, Xinhua reported.
Prachanda termed Nepal and China as friends and partners who can understand, rely on and support each other, and reiterated Nepal’s determination to follow the one-China policy, he said.
Under the one-China policy, Nepal is cracking down on Tibetan visits to India through its land borders to meet the Dalai Lama.
Both Taiwan and Tibet are inalienable parts of Chinese territory, and Nepal will not allow any power to use its territory to undermine Chinese sovereignty and security, Dahal told Xi, adding that this position is firm and unwavering.
He noted that Nepal highly appreciates the Belt and Road Initiative and will actively participate in the Belt and Road cooperation and will also promote the construction of the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network.
According to Nepali media reports, both countries were expected to sign several agreements to boost Chinese investment in Nepal.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)