Amid reports that a miffed Chinese President Xi Jinping cancelled his maiden visit to Nepal, Beijing on Sunday said both countries are in “close communication”
on the issue and China attaches importance to the new Nepalese government.
“You said the visit was cancelled. This not appropriate to say it”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here responding to reports of cancellation of Xi’s visit.
“China and Nepal are in close communication on high-level exchanges. China attaches importance to the new Nepalese government and we would like to promote new development of bilateral relations with Nepal”, Hua said.
Pressed further for details she said “I don’t think it was appropriate way to say it is cancelled because two sides have high-level exchanges”, she said.
“The two sides are always in communication on high-level exchanges so we cannot say it is cancelled or not as it is not defined yet”, she said.
“All we can tell you we are in close communication with Nepal on the relevant issue and we will release information in due course”, she added.
Xi was due to visit Nepal next month.
But reports from Kathmandu said the visit has been cancelled as China is unhappy with the new government led Prachanda who is set to visit India this week to mend ties
between the two countries after his predecessor, K P Shama Oli followed pro-China policy.
Reports said China was displeased with the lack preparations for Xi’s visit as well as commitment to implement China’s Silk Road plan (officially called One Belt and One Road) as well as agreements reached by Oli government to step up road and rail links connecting Nepal with Tibet to reduce landlocked Nepal’s dependence on India.
Nepal government had dismissed the reports saying there was no truth report about the cancellation of Xi’s visit.
Nepal’s Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat had said “We are expecting the visit of the Chinese President, though the date of the visit has not yet been fixed”.
During his visit, Oli had signed the Transit Transport Agreement to improve the connectivity between Nepal and Tibet in a bid to end decades-old dependency on India for daily supplies.
The deal was widely regarded as an attempt by Oli to open trade links with China in a bid to reduce dependence Nepal’s imports through Indian ports.
China also agreed to Oli’s request to build railway link connecting the two countries through Tibet.