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Nepal President leaves for nine-day state-visit to China

Press Trust of India  |  Kathmandu 

Nepal's President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Wednesday embarked on a nine-day state-visit to China during which she will address the second international meeting on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and sign important bilateral connectivity agreements under it.

Bhandari's visit to China, on the invitation of President Xi Jinping, holds significance as it is the first-ever visit by a Nepalese President to Beijing.

"During the visit, the President is scheduled to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and address the third of the three high-level sessions on April 26 and present Nepal's views on sustainable development," officials said.

She will also take part in the leaders' round-table on April 27 and present Nepal's views on the BRI, how to move forward with the initiative and what are Nepal's benefits and stakes, they said.

The BRI is a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by President Xi when he came to power in 2013 to consolidate Beijing's influence abroad. It aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which has been officially designated as a flagship project of the BRI, has become a stumbling block for India to take part in it as the controversial project is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The massive investments in projects across 65 countries from Asia to Europe and Africa collectively account for 30 per cent of the global GDP.

Bhandari will also attend the opening ceremony of International Horticultural Exhibition and visit Nepali pavilion.

"She will hold a delegation level talks with the Chinese President and also meet other senior Chinese leaders. She will also address the joint meeting of business community from Nepal and China in Beijing, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

During her visit, Nepal and China are expected to sign a number of bilateral agreements, including the protocol of the Nepal-China Transit Transport Agreement and pacts on Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network under the BRI.

Also, the two sides are likely to sign agreements on customs cooperation, on expediting China-aided projects in Nepal, and on cultural property protection aimed at curbing illegal trade in artefacts, according to sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

President Bhandari will visit Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province, on her way to Beijing.

On her way back home, she will visit Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region of China. In both places, she will meet the provincial leaders, the statement said.

She is scheduled to return home on May 2.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 24 2019. 20:15 IST