Nepal’s Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka has returned a happy man from China. Beijing has offered Nepal a huge grant in return for Kathmandu’s assurances to stick to ‘One China’ policy, the Indian Express has learnt.
Khadka led an 11-member delegation to China earlier this week on the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister and state councilor Wang Yi.
Upon Khadka’s return, a press release issued by Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Khadka and Yi discussed enhancing, among other things, “bilateral trade, connectivity network, health, tourism, agriculture, education”. China will also fund and provide equipment for Covid control mechanism in Nepal, it added.
Sources, however, said Beijing also assured Nepal it would provide 800 million RMB (118 million USD) grant for the current financial year, for projects of Kathmandu’s preference. This will be in addition to the RMB 3. 5 billion promised by Xi Jinping during his visit to Nepal in October 2019.
China also promised to stand by Nepal “in defence of its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity unconditionally”, sources said.
On his part, Khadka, the sources cited above added, convinced the Chinese side of Nepal’s firm adherence to the ‘One China policy’ “irreversibly”. Also, on Chinese concern about West’s disproportionate presence and about the US-Nepal ties, Khadka is believed to have assured Yi that Nepal’s cooperation with Western countries, particularly the US, was for the sake of development and had no security or military component. To reassure China on this, the two countries also decide to extend their cooperation in the disaster management sector.
Nepal also assured China it will not allow any external forces to carry out activities against China on its territory, keeping the Tibet sensitivity in mind, the sources added.
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Nepal’s plan last month to take part in the State Partnership Program, an exchange programme between Nepal Army and the US National Guard, was dropped at the last minute following protests at home, and reservation from China.
Also, although officials are silent about it, Nepal seems to have agreed to go ahead with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, pledging to implement previous understanding and agreements on priority.