KATHMANDU: Nepali leaders from different political parties have set high hopes on enhancing Sino-Nepal ties during the upcoming China visit of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
Addressing an interaction entitled “Friendship Across the Himalayas: Current Situation and Vision of Nepal-China Cooperation” organized by Nepal-China Social Relation Academy in Kathmandu on Wednesday, the leaders advised the Prime Minister to further deepen the ties and sign important projects for the mutual benefits.
During the programme, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha expressed hope that the PM’s visit will play a significant role in maintaining the smooth relations between the two countries, which he claimed as “trouble-free.”
Saying that the visit would further boost the increasing development partnership, Home Minister Shrestha said that the Nepali side is in discussion about the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and expressed hope that it will move towards a positive direction.
“For now, discussion is going on to create understanding on content for implementation of agreement. Hope the visit will yield positive outcomes,” Shrestha remarked, adding that Nepal’s development and prosperity lies in utilising the available resources and using the foreign assistance.
Nepali Prime Minister is leaving for Hangzhou, China on September 23 from New York, after attending the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly. This will be Dahal’s first visit to China after being elected as the Prime Minister.
Similarly, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Indira Rana Magar said that China has always worked in favor of Nepal’s prosperity and expressed hope that it would continue to do so.
Recalling her latest China visit, she underscored the need of enhancing trade between the two countries, particularly through exporting products like tea and coffee and various medicinal herbs from Nepal to China to boost the economy.
Other leaders speaking in the programme advised the Prime Minister to further gain the trust and confidence of China.
Dr Rajan Bhattarai, Head of Foreign Affairs Department of CPN UML suggested, “PM’s China visit and meeting with the top Chinese leadership should be able to build a relation of trust and should create a positive environment which will be in favor of Nepal and Nepali public. “
In terms of BRI’s implementation, Dr Bhattarai said that connectivity projects should be prioritised without politicising. “Connectivity is today’s necessity, so this should be Nepal’s priority. Chinese rails have reached hundreds of European cities, but we as a close neighbour, have not been able to create such link for our better future,” he said.
Stating that there is a false narrative created about BRI projects, he said, “The current government should be serious about it. The foreign policy is guided by the government, by the state, so it should not give the neighbour any chance to have doubts.”
Echoing Dr Bhattarai’s statement, former minister Thakur Sharma suggested that the PM should gain the confidence and trust of the Chinese side in this visit, which will be a major achievement.
On the occasion, Laxman Panta, CPN (Maoist Center)’s Central Committee member highlighted that at a time when the major world power shift is happening in recent years, with the rise of China, developing countries like Nepal should gain maximum benefits out of this opportunity.
Likewise, Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) Standing Committee member Anil Sharma said that China’s progress has brought qualitative development in South Asia, including Nepal.
“China’s massive production has brought many benefits to the general public,” he said, adding that the Nepal government should take forward the BRI projects in the upcoming PM’s visit.
Chairman of Nepal-China Social Relation Academy Professor Dr Balmukunda Regmi expressed his belief that the cooperation between Nepal and China will reach a new level, and the areas of cooperation between will be wider after the visit.
Stating that transforming Nepal from a “land locked country” to a “land linked country” is a major challenge, he said that increasing the number of airports and the construction of cross-border railways would help in achieving prosperity and improving the life of Nepali people.
“Some foreign projects in Nepal have sparked heated discussions, such as Pokhara International Airport. It is very good to pay attention to the construction of major domestic projects. If there are related problems with these projects, it is very good to point them out and then instruct the relevant parties to correct them. This is conducive to common progress, which is called “constructive opinions,” he commented.
“The vast South Asian subcontinent cannot stop our determination to reach the sea, nor can the towering Himalayas hinder our efforts to connect with the world,” Regmi added.
The interaction was attended by the party leaders and cadres from different parties, intellectuals, representatives of the business community, media and students among others.