Oli avoids commenting on China-US tensions, reiterates one-China policyThe UML chair says won’t contest upcoming elections on nationalistic plank.
Former prime minister and chairman of the main opposition CPN-UML KP Sharma Oli said on Thursday that Nepal should stand in favour of world peace as he parried questions on recent China-America tensions over Taiwan in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.
Speaking to journalists, Oli said one-China policy is Nepal’s stated position.
“Naturally, Tibet is an inalienable part of China and we are committed to one-China policy,” said Oli. “[And] we should not speak in the internal affairs of any country,” he added when asked about China and Taiwan.
Pelosi’s visit to the self-governed island, which China considers its part, has attracted scorn from Beijing. China on Thursday fired multiple missiles into the waters surrounding Taiwan in a demonstration of its anger at the US official’s visit.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi, on Wednesday issued a statement saying that the visit seriously infringed upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. “It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China firmly opposes and sternly condemns this, and has made serious démarche and strong protest to the United States,” she said in a statement while commending Nepal’s one-China policy.
Amid China’s sharp reaction to Pelosi’s visit, some left leaning politicians in Nepal like CPN (Unified Socialist) senior leader Jhalanath Khanal and Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party chair Narayanman Bijuckchhe, among others, issued statements to condemn “the US provocation against China.”
Oli, however, chose to tread carefully.
“We do not work to serve the interest of others. We will not allow our land to be used against our neighbours. But we believe that countries across the world should respect the sentiment and sensitivity of other countries,” said Oli. “Countries should not interfere in other’s internal issues and should not create tensions. We do not comment on other’s internal issues. We are for world peace.”
On the party’s campaign agenda, Oli said that the UML won’t resort to using nationalism and the new map that included Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limphiyadhura for the elections.
Nepal issued a new map in May 2020 after territorial disputes with India when Oli was prime minister.
“We are not against any country. We are not going to claim the land of any country. We are talking of justifiable and reasonable issues and any claim should be based on international obligations, based on facts and evidence,” said Oli.
“We don’t want any kind of rivalry or enmity with any country. We want to work and grow with our neighbours. We don’t want to be an unreliable friend. We want to be a reliable and confident friend of our neighbours and other friendly nations.”
The main opposition leader also talked about several domestic issues including the federal and provincial elections slated for November 20 among others.
“Although elections are a regular constitutional and procedural formality, I still doubt if they will be held on schedule,” Oli said.
On the government's bid to amend the Commission on Investigation of Disappeared Persons, Truth and Reconciliation Act 2014, Oli said that the proposed amendments are not in the interest of the victims.
“The act should be in line with the Supreme Court’s 2015 verdict, in line with the interest of the victims and our international commitments that no amnesty will be granted to serious human rights violators,” said Oli.
The government has registered an amendment bill so as to conclude the transitional justice process, but conflict victims have expressed their reservations about some provisions which they say are aimed at exonerating the perpetrators of serious human rights violations committed during the 1996-2006 Maoist insurgency.
Oli also objected to the way the government took the bill to amend the Citizenship Act for parliamentary approval. The bill has been endorsed by both the houses of Parliament and is awaiting the presidential seal.
Oli also lashed out at the government for spying on him.
“Why has the government deployed four spies in front of my house? If the prime minister wants to know about my activities, I am ready to share with him,” he said.
Oli also said that the UML can easily break the current coalition if it wants to.