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Cinese Prez Xi's visit had no substantial impact on Nepal-China ties

Three years since Chinese President Xi Jinping's historic Nepal visit in 2019, there is not much to show for it.

Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

ANI Asia
Three years since Chinese President Xi Jinping's historic Nepal visit in 2019, there is not much to show for it.
Anil Giri, a reporter covering diplomacy, international relations and national politics, writing in The Kathmandu Post said that Xi came, Xi saw but Xi couldn't conquer hurdles in bilateral ties.
Described as a "watershed" in Nepal-China relations, a 14-point joint statement was issued and a 20-point list of instruments was signed and exchanged.
Xi had vowed to transform 'landlocked' Nepal into a 'land-linked' country. Separately, during delegation-level talks with President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Xi had announced aid worth Rs 56 billion to Nepal, said Giri.
Although the money was to be provided over the next two years, negotiations for it still continue between Kathmandu and Beijing. Interestingly, the joint statement did not mention the Rs 56 billion promised by Xi.
Beijing-based Nepali diplomat, Bishnu Pukar Shrestha said Chinese officials have been saying they have already provided some of the Rs 56 billion aid in the form of Covid supplies including vaccines and other assistance, reported The Kathmandu Post.
"We will learn the details once we sit for talks with them," the diplomat said.
Moreover, there has not been a single meeting between Nepali and Chinese officials in the past three years to discuss the agreements signed three years ago during Xi's Nepal visit.
One important agreement signed during the visit was a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport of Nepal and the Ministry of Transport of China on the Feasibility Study of the China-Nepal Cross-Border Railway Project. But Nepali officials are still unsure when the study will start.
As per the joint communique released after Xi's visit, the two sides had committed to implementing several projects under the Belt and Road Initiatives, which Nepal signed up to in 2017.
"The two sides agreed to intensify the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative to enhance connectivity, encompassing such vital components as ports, roads, railways, aviation and communications within the overarching framework of trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network," said the joint statement.
The goal is to "significantly contribute to Nepal's development agenda that includes graduating from LDC at an early date, becoming a middle-income country by 2030 and realising the SDGs by the same date."
But not a single project that Nepal had selected under the BRI has started in the past five years, said Giri.
In order to execute the BRI projects, Nepali authorities have communicated to the Chinese side that Nepal prefers grants to loans.
Another major announcement made by Xi was to transform Nepal from a land-locked to a land-linked country. But following the pandemic, China has almost shut down two key border trading points of Kyrung and Tatopani.
After Xi's historic visit to Nepal, the first by a Chinese President in 23 years, there were apprehensions in Kathmandu that Nepal would tilt towards the north. But that did not happen, reported The Kathmandu Post.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Oct 19 2022 | 10:39 AM IST

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