Kathmandu, August 10, 2016: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that Nepal was eager to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping to the country any time soon.
In a meeting with the visiting Chinese delegation led by Dr Ji Zhiye, the president of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), on Tuesday, the PM said the visit would further cement ties between Nepal and China.
In the meeting, the Chinese experts told him that the visit of the Chinese president to Nepal was likely to take place within this year.
The suggestion of the CICIR, a think tank under Chinaâ€™s State Council, has the potential to influence decisions in Beijing with regard to the presidential visit to Kathmandu. A five-member CICIR delegation arrived in Kathmandu on Monday via India where they had held talks with senior Indian government officials and experts.
There was confusion in Kathmandu over President Xiâ€™s planned visit in light of the government change in Nepal but the expertsâ€™ arrival has hinted that the trip is very much on the Chinese agenda.
The Chinese president will reportedly come to Nepal in October before or after visiting India for the BRICS Summit.
In the meeting with the Chinese experts on Tuesday, Dahal said that Nepal wanted a reliable and long-term friendship with ChinaÂ based on mutual benefit. He also stressed the need for trilateral cooperation between Nepal, India and China.
According to a statement issued by the PMâ€™s secretariat, the Chinese side told the PM that â€œBeijing wants positive and long-term relations with the Dahal-led governmentâ€.
They also told the PM that China was ready to share its expertise and experience in post-earthquake reconstruction and to help build big infrastructure projects in Nepal. They also requested Dahal to create infrastructure to attract Chinese tourists.
The exact date of the visit is yet to be fixed and the Chinese president is said to be preparing to visit Bangladesh as well around the same time. The Chinese experts had also visited Bangladesh prior to landing in Kathmandu.
They told Nepali leaders that Xiâ€™s visit would certainly go ahead and that they were here to look into the preparations for the same.
The Chinese team held talks also with former prime ministers KP Sharma Oli and Sher Bahadur Deuba separately. The delegation invited Nepali Congress President Deuba to visit China. Deuba said that he would visit Beijing after the PM â€œcompletes his foreign tripâ€. During the meeting, according to Krishna Poudel, an aide to Deuba, possible Chinese cooperation with Nepal was also discussed.
The two countries could work together in areas of agriculture, connectivity, energy and infrastructure, Deuba told the delegates.
At a gathering in Kathmandu on Monday, Ji said that China wanted to see good relations between Nepal and India.
By Anil Giri