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Chinese Admiral hints at Xi Jinping’s Nepal visit

Chinese leader Xi Jinping earlier today in Beijing.

Kathmandu, June 8, 2012: Chinese officials visiting Kathmandu in quick succession have indicated a strong possibility of Chinese President Xi Jinping visiting Nepal later this year.

Nepali officials have also been invited to visit Beijing in connection with Xi’s potential visit.

Admiral Sun Jianguo of the People’s Liberation Army, who arrived here on a three-day official visit on Monday, invited Defence Minister Bhim Rawal to visit China “to prepare for the possible visit of President Xi”.

During an official meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Rawal on Monday, Admiral Sun said that there was possibility of Chinese President Xi visiting Nepal, according to a statement by the Defence Ministry.

Officials said that China has already indicated that there will be a high level meeting from its side within this year, and it is expected that Chinese President Xi may stopover in Nepal in October en route to India to attend the eighth Brics Summit or while returning home after the Summit.

He could arrive in Nepal on October 16, according to Nepali officials.

An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that the visit of the Chinese admiral may be part of an “assessment mission” for the Chinese president’s visit.

The visit could be one or two-day long, he said.

China and Nepal are also holding a meeting at foreign secretary level in the third week of June in Kathmandu. The meeting is expected to review and asses all areas of bilateral ties, including implementing the recent accords reached with China during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to Beijing.

The government has formed a mechanism at foreign secretary level in order to implement pacts signed between India and China during the recent visits of PM Oli to India and China.

The first meeting of the mechanism that included various secretaries of Nepal government decided to expedite pacts and understanding reached with India and China.

After the meeting, more engagements, meetings and visit with China are on the cards, said the official.

Meanwhile, Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun is also leaving for Kunming, China on Friday to attend the Fourth China-South Asia Expo. He will be leading a 17- member Nepali delegation to Kunming. He will be meeting senior Chinese officials including one of the five vice presidents of China during the expo, said an official familiar to the visit.

By Anil Giri