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Experts say PM’s China visit has added new dimension to Nepal-China ties

Prakash Silwal, Ramesh Lamsal, KATHMANDU: Foreign relations experts have said that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s official visit to the People’s Republic of China this time has proven a historic in terms of bringing investment, adding a new dimension to the bilateral ties and preparing for the construction of the trans-Himalayan railway.
They observed that the visit has started a new beginning in the relations between the two countries.
According to them, PM’s this visit to the northern neighbour has ensured China’s increasing role as a reliable economic partner in Nepal’s prosperity.
Chief of the Tribhuvan University’s Central Department of International Relations and Diplomacy, Dr Khadga KC termed the visit successful from the policitical, economic and strategic perspective. He added that the high-level talks and agreements at the governmental level have helped in further strengthening the environment of mutual trust between the two countries.
The agreement on bringing investment from the private sector of China for water resources development, the agreement on construction of railway and transmission line expansion and the expansion of market for Nepali goods are important from the economic point of views in Nepal’s current geopolitical condition, Dr KC said.
Dr KC said that although the protocol on trade and transit was not signed as expected during the current visit, it would be signed in the near future. According to him, not signing the protocol means the alternative transit through its northern border would not be available to Nepal.
“We should not expect immediate big economic support. Expansion of transmission line, the railway agreement and humanitarian cooperation would contribute to lessening the dependency on the southern neighbour,” he observed.
The trade and transit agreement reached between Nepal and China during the first China visit by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli two years ago had paved the way for possibility of an alternative of transit with the northern neighbour. The visit took place amidst the unofficial economic blockade imposed by the Indian side on Nepal.
Former diplomat Dr Bhekh Bahadur Thapa described the prime minister’s ongoing China visit positive. In his words, it marks the commencement of a new dimension regarding the Nepal- China relations. Goodwill and courtesy that China offered to Nepal is significant. He underlined the need of laying a focus on the implementation of bilateral agreements on railway and transmission lines. According to him, respect shown by China to Nepal’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is significant. It seems that dreams envisaged by Nepal are likely to come true.
Foreign expert Hiranyalal Shrestha viewed that agreements on railway and transmission line are of achievements of long-term importance and with this, people of north Nepal need not to suffer hunger. Protocol on the Utilization of Highways in Tibet Autonomous Region, China by Nepal for Cargo Transport is another outcome of the visit. Agreement on reducing bilateral trade deficit and creating a special economic zone in Nepal would help promote Nepal’s trade to the northern neighbour.
In the 10 months of current fiscal, Nepal’s import China amounted Rs 127 billion while the exports to China is only Rs 2.76 billion.
Karki said, “This visit has made remarkable step to bring Chinese rail to Kathmandu. It has also ended the doubt whether the past agreements would be implemented.”
Meanwhile, Dr Thapa observed, “It may be because of the lack of homework for not signing on the protocol of the agreement on transit. However, the agreement on use of the Tibetan highway has paved way for alternative arrangement.” RSS

Published Date: Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 | 09:13 PM

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