Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s upcoming five-day visit to China, his first after re-election, will see the two countries sign a number of agreements including one on energy cooperation and construction of a railway line connecting Kerung in Tibet to capital Kathmandu, a senior NCP leader said on Sunday.
Oli will be in China from June 19 to 24. During his visit, a host of projects under the Belt and Road Initiative as well as China’s plans for an India-Nepal-China economic corridor are expected to be discussed. The visit will further strengthen bilateral ties and promote cooperation between Nepal and China, said Ganesh Shah, member of Communist Party of Nepal (NCP) Standing Committee.
Half a dozen MoUs will be signed between Nepal and China during the official visit to China by Prime Minister Oli, he said. Nepal will sign an MoU on constructing a railway line connecting Kerung of Tibet to Kathmandu. A feasibility study will be conducted for the railway line, which is expected to complete within four years. An agreement will be signed for energy cooperation between the two countries, Shah said.
An agreement will be made to form a permanent government to government mechanism between Nepal and China to look after different projects being constructed under Chinese assistance. Oli, during his earlier brief tenure as premier in 2016, had widened China-Nepal ties by signing the transit trade treaty with China to reduce the dependence of his landlocked country on India at the height of the Madhesi agitation and had sought expansion of road links through Tibet besides extension of China’s railway network to Nepal through the Himalayas.
However, since his re-election, he made his first foreign visit to India promising to follow a more balanced policy between India and China. His visit was also followed by a high-profile visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal highlighting steady development in relations between the two countries. China will also extend assistance to the Nepal government for post-earthquake reconstruction, Shah said. Only one third assistance has so far been materialised and Beijing will extend the remaining assistance during the visit, he said.
Agreements will be signed between six Nepalese and six Chinese private companies for promoting collaborations in different sectors, Shah said. Oli, who is also NCP’s Chairman, told party Standing Committee that his official visit to China will be historic. Oli’s visit comes at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Li Keqing. This will be the first visit to China by the Prime Minister since he assumed power in February.
Ahead of his visit, China has aired concerns over reports of cancellation of Chinese companies’ agreement to build the West Seti hydropower project in Nepal.
China has been investing heavily in Nepal in the last few years to enhance connectivity and infrastructure. It has suggested to the Nepal government to build an India-Nepal-China economic corridor through the Himalayas.