Oli ends Beijing business with joint communiquéChina on Wednesday welcomed the new constitution of Nepal and pledged to carry out feasibility study of over a dozen projects related to infrastructure, energy and trade in Nepal to deepen engagement between the two countries.
China on Wednesday welcomed the new constitution of Nepal and pledged to carry out feasibility study of over a dozen projects related to infrastructure, energy and trade in Nepal to deepen engagement between the two countries.
In a joint statement issued in Beijing on Wednesday at the conclusion of visiting Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s business in Beijing, the Chinese side welcomed the promulgation of the constitution in Nepal and regarded it as a historic progress in the political transition of Nepal.
“The Chinese side sincerely hopes that Nepal could take this opportunity to realise its political stability and economic development,” read the joint communiqué.
The major highlight of PM Oli’s visit has been the signing of the Agreement on Transit and Transport.
Senior officials from both sides have directed the competent authorities on their respective sides to immediately start negotiation to develop a protocol which will be an integral part of the deal.
The agreement will come into operation after completing the protocol and upgrading the necessary infrastructure on the border.
To facilitate the new transit agreement, Nepal has decided to establish a Consulate General office in Guangzhou, which is close to the Chinese port Tianjin, the closest one from Nepal’s border. The two sides also agreed to establish a Dialogue Mechanism on Energy Cooperation to facilitate the long-term planning of cooperation in this area, including trans-border power grid, hydro-power and solar power among others.
The Nepali side agreed to take necessary steps to facilitate Chinese enterprises and their investment in Nepal. The Chinese side also agreed to provide financial support on preferential terms for Pokhara Regional International Airport that ensures construction of the regional airport in Pokhara.
“The overall impression of the visit is positive and it has opened up future avenues for Nepal which is not at the expense of India,” said former minister and diplomat Bhekh Bahadur Thapa. “Agreements concluded with China are complimentary and they do not seek to replace those with India. The visit has set a positive tone for future cooperation with China where it seems both sides have created good understanding at political level.” On infrastructure front, as per the request made by the Nepali side, the Chinese side has agreed to accelerate the feasibility study of the Araniko Highway Repair and Opening Maintenance Project and the Repair and Opening Maintenance Project of Syaphrubesi-Rasuwagadhi Highway and build the bridge over the Karnali river at Hilsa of Pulan/Yari port.
The Arankio Highway, also called Kodari Highway, is not in operation following the April 25 earthquake last year. Similarly, two sides also agreed to accelerate the upgradation of Kathmandu Ring Road phase by resolving the pending issues and start the project feasibility study of second phase at appropriate time, and the Nepali side will provide necessary cooperation to implement this project.
Tanka Karki, Nepal’s former ambassador to China, said that it is a strategic shift for Nepal, but all depends on political acumen to implement the accords.
“We are heading toward political stability so civil society should be active and conscious about putting pressure on the government to implement the deals announced on Wednesday, and we have to scale up our capability to implement the promises made,” he added.
The two sides also agreed to synergise each other’s development planning, formulate appropriate bilateral cooperation programmes and carry out major projects under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
“Both sides agreed to strengthen connectivity, further step up the land and air links and improve the land transport infrastructure.”
Similarly, both sides agreed to conclude a commercial deal on the supply of petroleum products from China to Nepal. In this context, they encouraged companies to speed up negotiations. The Chinese side also agreed to build oil storage facilities for Nepal and will send experts to Nepal to carry out feasibility study on oil and gas resources research. It is clear that the visit has opened up new vista of relations and opportunities, said Thapa.
On Nepal’s request to expand rail network within Nepal, the relevant authorities of both sides will exchange ideas and proposal on constructing cross border railways and railways network in Nepal and support enterprises to start related preparatory work as soon as possible, said the communiqué without mentioning any specific projects.
Both sides also exchanged views on facilitating Chinese investment in key areas including infrastructures by encouraging the Chinese investment in Nepal, agreed to explore establishing cross border economic cooperation zones via existing frontier ports and to speed up opening up other frontier ports and trade points as mutually agreed upon. The two sides have agreed to start the joint feasibility study of China-Nepal Free Trade Agreement and conclude the study at an early date.