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Nepal PM Oli to travel to China on March 20: source

Press Trust of India  |  Kathmandu 

After choosing India as his first overseas destination, Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli will head to China beginning March 20, a source close to the premier said today.

The 63-year-old Prime Minister is expected to embark on a state visit to China starting from March 20 and preparations are underway for the same, the source said.

His maiden visit to China since he assumed office in October last year is taking place exactly a month after his visit to India.

During a press meet held in his office at Singhdurbar on the eve of his India visit, Oli had told reporters that he would pay a visit to Beijing within a month.

However, a detail programme of the visit is yet to be worked out.

Nepal turned towards its northern neighbour for essential supplies after its border with India was obstructed due to an agitation led by Madhesis, largely of Indian-origin, over the issue of the new Constitution.

Oli said during a programme on Sunday that he wanted to develop friendly relations with both the neighbouring countries, India and China on the basis of equality and mutual benefits.

He has also denied charges that his government was playing China card against India.

"We don't believe in playing card against any country," he said.

A meeting of Council of Ministers yesterday reviewed the premier's recent six-day India visit last month, describing it as a historic and productive one.

During the meeting, it was assessed that the India visit had helped resolve the differences with the southern neighbour and augment the multi-faceted ties shared between these two countries, Minister for Information and Communications and Spokesperson of government Sher Dhan Rai was quoted as saying in local media.

Oli had earlier said it would not be appropriate for him to visit New Delhi until the blockade of key trade points with India is lifted.

Some reports had said that Oli could visit China before India due to hiccups in Indo-Nepal ties over the Madhesi issue and China was being seen as getting closer to Nepal by supplying fuel to the crisis-hit landlocked nation.

Oli, in his remarks on Sunday, said that during his India visit he assured the Indian leadership that he would not allow the Nepalese territory to be used against any of its neighbours.

"We will definitely honour and respect India's genuine concerns and interests," he said.

First Published: Tue, March 01 2016. 20:49 IST