Government to sign MoU on OBOR in KTM, not in Beijing

Nepal Foreign Affairs (KATHMANDU, 8 May 2017)  –  The government on Monday  decided to become a part of China’s ambitious project ”One Belt, One Road”.

A Cabinet meeting decided to sign a Memorandum of Understanding

on framework agreement of OBOR. OBOR is a dream project of Chinese President Xi Jinping that aims to enhance connectivity in the world.

The government had been  in pressure from the southern neighbour not to be part of China’s One Belt, One Road. India has not signed such an agreement with China. Not only that New Delhi has been constantly requesting its neighbours including Nepal not to sign such agreements with China.

Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal during his China visit had made a commitment to sign MOU on ”One Belt, One Road” when he called on Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijing. Despite the India’s pressure, Prime Minister Dahal took this step at a time when he is leaving his premiership after a week. After the first phase of this local elections, Prime Minister Dahal should handover his chair to the President of Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba as  per their ”Gentleman’s Agreement”.

It seems that Prime Minister Dahal in his last days of power want to give a message to Beijing that he was not India’s agent. Interestingly, the government abruptly took a U-turn saying the agreement will be signed in Kathmandu, not in Beijing as per the previous understanding.  Just before the OBOR conference slated to be held in Beijing on May 14-15.

According to officials at the Ministry of External Affairs, Foreign Secretary Shakar Das Bairagi and China’s Nepal Ambassador Yu Hong  will sign the framework on May 11. ”Now only a framework agreement will be signed. More agreements will be signed in the future based on the necessity of various sectors” Surendra Karki , Minister for Information and Communication said.

At least  28 heads of state and over 150 nations have confirmed their participation  in the conference.

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