KATHMANDU, June 16 (Nepal Foreign Affairs)–Nepal and China are all set to hold the 11th meeting of the Diplomatic Consultation Mechanism on June 22; official sources told NFA on Wednesday.
The meeting will 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, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
“The meeting will review the implementation status of the bilateral deals signed between China and Nepal during the prime minister’s visit,” the official said adding that the meeting will also discuss upon effective implementation of those deals through bilateral negotiations between the two countries.
The source hinted that the meeting may also give inputs to set agendas for upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal likely to take place in mid October 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, is arriving in Kathmandu on June 21 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 Communiqué issued during Premier Oli’s trip to the northern neighbour 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.