– Hari Lamichhane
Kathmandu, June 18 (RSS): Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s official visit to the People’s Republic of China starting from tomorrow is seen as an important opportunity for Nepal in meeting its goal of economic development and prosperity.
PM Oli’s this visit has been taken as key opportunity as it is taking place on a very strong background and at the friendly invitation of the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The KP Oli government, formed after the elections to the three levels held following the promulgation of the new constitution, enjoys a two-thirds majority support in parliament. On the other hand, Chinese President Xi Jinping is providing a highly optimistic leadership to China after getting resounding endorsement from the People’s Assembly for a second term at the helm.
Moreover, PM Oli’s this visit is taking place on the foundation of his earlier week-long visit to the northern neighbour on March 20, 2016 during which Nepal and China signed on historic trade and transit agreement, and also of the visit by then Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachnada’ during the third week of March 2017. Commitments for bilateral trade and cooperation were made during Dahal’s visit also.
Three important agreements were signed during PM Oli’s earlier visit to China. These include construction of a bridge at Hilsa transit point on the Nepal-India border to the north, the agreement related to loan for the construction of the regional international airport in Pokhara and another agreement relating to concessional loan.
Likewise, separate memoranda of understanding were reached for carrying out a feasibility study, with Chinese cooperation, on the exploration of oil and natural gas and conducting a joint feasibility study regarding starting dialogue for free trade agreement between Nepal and China. An agreement was also reached regarding providing 32 thousand solar systems to the earthquake-affected people. Another memorandum of understanding on registration of trade mark and exchanging cooperation in the financial and banking sectors was also signed during PM Oli’s earlier China visit.
Similarly, agreements was also signed regarding mobilising Chinese support in infrastructure development, expanding land and air connectivity, consolidating the transport infrastructure and expanding connectivity network, construction of the inter-country roadway and railway network, repairing and re-operating the Araniko highway and the Syafrubesi-Rasuwagadhi road and extension of the Ring Road in Kathmandu.
In the same manner, the Chinese side had agreed to provide assistance for the construction of the Kimathanka-Khandbari-Dhankuta road, developing the 434-Megawatts-capacity Arun Kimathanka Hydropower Project and providing concessional loan for installing 400 KV capacity inter-country transmission line and construction of a 132 KV monopole transmission line around the Ring Road in Kathmandu.
At that time, the Chinese side had taken seriously the proposal put forth by the Nepali side requesting China to provide easy access to more than 500 goods having export potentiality to Chinese market for reducing Nepal’s trade deficit with China. An agreement was reached for setting up a mechanism for dialogue between the related bodies of both countries.
Agreement had also been reached for providing support including giving Chinese language training and other training for creating an environment in which Nepal could be benefitted from Chinese tourists and to further boost Nepal’s tourism business.
Then Prime Minister Prachanda had, during his visit, further built on and concretised these achievements describing them as historic.
Many of the topics related to the above-mentioned agreements have been implemented while some still remain to be implemented, and this visit of Prime Minister Oli to China is taking place as a significant opportunity to prepare the ground for implementation of the remaining agreements and MoUs.
Given this backdrop, PM Oli’s this visit has much significance and it is taken as a good opportunity to materialise the essence of government’s slogan of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepalis’.
Implementation of past agreements main agenda of the visit
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradip Kumar Gyawali, who is accompanying the Prime Minister to China during this visit, said the main agenda of the visit is to further activate and implement the agreements reached that time.
Different MoUs regarding opening eight border points in Tibet, an autonomous region of China, for supply of food to Nepal, construction of Kerung-Kathmandu railway, establishment of mechanism between Nepal and China and construction of ‘Nepal-China Friendship Bridge’ at Tatopani of Sindhupalchowk and Kerung of Rasuwa would be signed during Prime Minister Oli’s China visit.
Two border check points would be opened at Uripas of Bajhang, two each at Rasuwagadhi and Tinkar of Darchula, two at Tiplapas of Taplejung and one at Hilsa of Humla with an objective to export goods towards Tibet from Nepal.
Foreign Affairs Minister Gyawali expressed the belief that this visit of the Prime Minister would be fruitful and it will take the relations between the two countries to a new height.
Saying the mutual cooperation would have significant contribution in Nepal’s prosperity, Foreign Minister said, “An agreement regarding Trans Himalayan railway will be signed. It is the most significant initiative. It will start a new era in the sector of mutual cooperation.”
Discussion regarding investment and cooperation would be held during courtesy call on Chinese President Xi Jinping and bilateral talks with Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang.
It is believed that the friendly discussion between the two leaders would further strengthen the existing relation between the two countries as Nepal has taken China as its true and trustworthy neighbour, would take the friendly-relations between Nepal and China to a new height.
Prime Minister Oli will be accompanied by his spouse Radhika Shakya, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, Foreign Minister Gyawali, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barshaman Pun, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth, Prime Minister’s Chief Advisor Bishnu Rimal, lawmakers, high-level government officials and representatives from private sector and media persons.
There is possibility of signing six MoU regarding hydropower project and transmission line under Energy Cooperation.
Similarly, there is probability of high-level talks regarding the issue of making three security bodies strong in physical and technical way, border security and disaster management. Likewise, MoU will be signed regarding cooperation on construction of Trans Himalayan railway and infrastructure development under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.
There is participation of a large number of representatives from private sector in this China visit of the Prime Minister. There will be agreement of investment of more than Rs 200 billion between private sectors of Nepal and China.