GYAN P NEUPANE
KATHMANDU, March 24: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal left for a week-long visit to China Thursday evening, exactly a year after Nepal signed a 10-point agreement with the northern neighbor during the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s China visit.
In a meeting with former prime ministers, former foreign and finance ministers and experts on Thursday afternoon, Dahal said his China visit will be mainly focused on “creating a trustworthy environment” between the two countries. He said, instead of signing new deals, he will focus on implementing the past agreements between the two countries.
Nepal and China had inked the 10-point deal on March 21, 2016, during Oli’s week-long China visit.
Though a year has shot by since the two sides inked the deal, there has been dismal progress in implementing the deal. Experts believe that the relation between the two sides have soured due to the delay in implementing key agreements reached last year with the past government.
During the meeting, the prime minister said that he will also clear the misunderstandings surfaced between the two sides in recent times. “I have also sensed that some sort of confusion and misunderstanding has surfaced in our relationship,” former ambassador to China Rajeshwar Acharya quoted Dahal as saying during the meeting. “My visit will clear such misunderstandings, if any.”
According to Acharya, most of the participants of the meeting including himself advised Dahal to put all efforts to implement the past agreements and understandings between the two countries.
He said that the participants also reminded the prime minister that the optimism instilled in the general public following the 10-point deal with China last year has now been dampened by the delay in implementing it.
The participants also suggested to Dahal to give priority to join China’s One Road One Belt (OBOR) policy for the development of Nepal. “Just like promoting the One-China Policy, China has now attached high importance to the OBOR initiative. So, I urged the prime minister to express Nepal’s clear commitment to OBOR,” he said.
Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, chairman of Nepal Chamber of Commerce, said he suggested to the prime minister to expedite the process of implementing previous deals signed with China.
“I urged the prime minister to create an environment favorable to welcome China’s big investors to our country. For this, Nepal should open the way for Chinese banks to operate in Nepal,” Shrestha told Republica.
He also suggested to Dahal to take serious initiatives to open seven border points connecting Nepal and China and make environment for import and export of goods from the northern borders.
Nepal had signed important agreements with China for economic development including a transit treaty. The agreements inked include the Nepal-China transit and transport treaty, free trade agreement, construction of Pokhara Regional International Airport, construction of a bridge at Nepalgunj-Hilsa road, installation of solar systems at 32,000 houses, subsidized loan agreement, opening of bank branches and agreement related to exploration of gas and fuel, among others.
First appeared in Republica national daily