KATHMANDU, June 16 (Nepal Foreign Affairs)--An 11th meeting of the Diplomatic Consultation Mechanism which was earlier scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed until further notice, official sources told NFA on Wednesday.
The meeting was canceled at the request of the Chinese side, sources said seeking anonymity.
The meeting was expected to be primarily focused on reviewing the implementation status of a number of historical bilateral deals reached between China and Nepal during Prime Minister K.P Sharma Oli’s official visit to Beijing in March this year.
Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Kong Xuanyou, who heads the Asia and consular affairs Department at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was arriving in Kathmandu on Tuesday to co-chair the meeting from the Chinese side. Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi will lead the Nepalese side during the meeting.
The 15-point Join Communique issued during Premier Oli’s trip to the northern neighbor stated “The two sides agreed to make full use of existing mechanisms, including the Diplomatic Consultations and the Joint Economic and Trade Committee meeting, to expand exchanges and cooperation between government departments, legislatures and political parties.”
During the visit, the two sides had inked the landmark Agreement on Transit Transport.
The 10th meeting of the Diplomatic Consultation Mechanism was held in Beijing in August 2013. The then Foreign Secretary Arjun Bahadur Thapa had led the Nepalese delegation to Beijing.
Oli’s visit to China had yielded ten major agreements, including a landmark deal on transit trade.
The transit deal was aimed at reducing Nepal’s overwhelming economic dependence on India. The transit agreement has given Nepal access to the sea via the Chinese ports.
Nepal’s extreme dependence on trade with and via India has left Nepal vulnerable to pressure from India. An economic blockade imposed by India in 1989 caused severe fuel and other shortages and crippled the Nepali economy as did last year’s five-month-long unofficial economic embargo imposed by India after Nepal promulgated the much-awaited Constitution during which New Delhi felt that Kathmandu did not consult before announcing the national charter.
The Sino-Nepal transit trade agreement signed during Oli’s visit to China has ended India’s monopoly over Nepal’s transit trade.