KATHMANDU (19 June 2018) – Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Tuesday left for Beijing on a six day official visit of northern neighbour China as his second foreign trip. Prime Minister Oli, in his first abroad sojourn, had visited India on 6-9 April 2018 at the invitation of Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. After two months of his state visit to India, Prime Minister Oli has reached Beijing at the invitation of Chinese Premier Le Kequing.
At a time when both the nearest neighbours – India and China- have significantly improved their bilateral relations leaving aside the differences, the visit can be a good beginning for Nepal’s development and prosperity.
While briefing the parliament about his visit to China, Prime Minister Oli on Monday had said that the visit would focus on the implementations of agreements and understanding that were reached in March 2016. In his first premiership, Oli had visited China and signed some historic agreements including the Transport and Transit.
Prime Minister Oli had also said that some additional border points would be opened up between Nepal and China, a MOU on DPR of proposed Keiring-Kathmandu railway and Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway would be signed. Similarly, at least seven projects including one mega hydro project and transmission lines would be signed between the two countries.
Oli’s China visit has been keenly watched at the backdrop of evolved Nepal-India relations ending the hiccups, misunderstanding and troubles existed between the two. Oli’s state visit to India and Modi’s reciprocal visit to Nepal indicates the evolving situations that won’t allow the interfernces of each other and maintain sovereign relations.
It is therefore, the visit will also be seen in the context of improved Nepal-India relations.
In the parliament, Prime Minister said he won’t not sign any agreements and understanding with China that harms the national interest and sovereignty. He also said that he will talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang about the Nepali outlook and seeks support of them to expand the bilateral relations.
It won’t be wise and prudent to criticize Prime Minister Oli since his clear and transparent statements, which in no way suggest otherwise.
But there are adversaries too. China has been suspicious to Nepal government about the later’s inconsistent position on Budhigandaki multi purpouse project of 1200 MW. It was given to China’s Gejuwa Company to construct, later Deuba government took it back from Chinese Company and now the government has made public its policy of open bidding . It seems China has lost the project even though China’s Foreing Ministery’s Spokesperson commented that Beijing has not lost its project in Nepal and still there are many projects China is undertaking.
The exploitation of Nepal’s rich natural resources has been the major domestic priority of Nepal, for it, no doubt Nepal needs foreign investment. As a country located between the two rising economies – India and China – their investment seems quite natural in Nepal. As Prime Minister Oli has been constantly and repeatedly urging both the India and China to invest in Nepal, some modality of their joint development initiative should be also designed.
Be it in the form of trilateral cooperation or trilateral partnership, it is right and ripe time to launch mega development projects that might be helpful to achive prosperity as envisaged by Nepal’s constitution.