Sat, 23 Sep 2023

Nepal-China relations soar: Key deals, discussions await PM Dahal

Khalid Umar Malik
17 Sep 2023, 15:46 GMT+10

KATHMANDU, Nepal - A Friday evening Cabinet meeting approved agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to be signed during Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal's upcoming visit to China beginning September 22.

Dahal is visiting China at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Qiang, visiting Hangzhou, Beijing, and Chongqing before returning via Tibet.

According to a minister speaking on anonymity, at least seven to eight agreements and memorandums of understanding will be signed during Dahal's visit, as well as bilateral discussions on trade, commerce, energy cooperation, infrastructure, tourism, and border issues.

The two countries will sign agreements to establish agro-industrial parks, fisheries, livestock, cultural cooperation, the construction of north-south corridor roads, and a cross-border transmission line.

According to the minister, agreements will be signed for the construction of the Tokha-Chhahare tunnel project, two agro-industrial parks, one of which will be in Gorkha, the use of Chinese technology in education, the building of the Rasuwa-Kerung cross-border transmission line, and several other memorandums of understanding that are currently being discussed with the Chinese side and have yet to be finalized.

Foreign Minister NP Saud, Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Prakash Jwala, and Water Supply Minister Mahendra Ray Yadav will accompany the prime minister to China, the minister said.

There will be no agreements on key issues such as cross-border energy cooperation or the signing of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) implementation plan. Still, they are on the agenda for discussions during Dahal's visit. Similarly, Dahal will ask China for a grant to fund a BRI project, but the minister declined to name the project.

The prime minister will request and address many issues and concerns, including waving off the loans for the Pokhara International Airport and five Chinese planes.

Implementing previous agreements and accords will also be discussed during the prime minister's meeting with top Chinese leaders.

So far, the Chinese side has refused to write off both loans for the Pokhara International Airport and five Chinese-made aircraft. Nonetheless, one minister stated that the Nepali side would raise the issue with the Chinese.

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