Nepal prepares wish list ahead of foreign minister’s China visit

Kathmandu, December 17

Nepal is expected to seek Chinese assistance to build at least two roads, a power transmission line and electric mass transit system, among others, during Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Thapa’s visit to the northern neighbour.

Minister Thapa is visiting China this month, a reliable source told The Himalayan Times. “He might visit the country as early as December 23,” the source said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), however, could not confirm the matter.

“It (China visit) may be in the agenda, but we are not aware of it,” MoFA Spokesperson Tara Pokharel said. Another reliable source said the visit would be finalised once the Cabinet takes a formal decision on the matter.

Minister Thapa is currently in the United Kingdom. He is scheduled to return to Nepal on December 21, as per a press statement issued by MoFA.

Prior to Thapa’s China visit, the government has set up an infrastructure committee to finalise proposals that could be tabled during the minister’s visit.

The committee, formed under Physical Infrastructure and Transport Secretary Gajendra Kumar Thakur, comprises joint secretaries of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, the National Planning Commission, the Ministry of Finance, the MoFA, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, the Ministry of Urban Development and the Ministry of Energy.

During a meeting held on Wednesday, the committee identified five roads that China could help Nepal build to promote trade and transit between two countries. These roads are: Rasuwagadhi-Syafrubesi, Koshi Corridor (Kimathanka-Biratnagar), Kaligandaki Corridor (Gaidakot-Korala), Hilsa-Simikot section of the Karnali Highway, and Lamabagar-Lapche.

Although five roads have been identified, the government would seek Chinese assistance to build only two roads.

“The committee has recommended construction of Koshi and Kaligandaki Corridors. But the MoFA can take a final decision on its own,” the source said.

During the visit, Nepal would also request China to extend optical fibre link to Kyirong in China or Rasuwagadhi in Nepal and seek assistance in construction of Rasuwagadhi-Betrawati-Kathmandu power transmission line.

“Also, proposal for construction of electric mass transit system, using trolley buses or trams, around Ring Road in Kathmandu and beyond would be tabled during the visit,” the source said, adding, “Nepal is also expected to request China to extend few electric buses in grant and push for integrated development along Nepal-China border points.”

Among others, Nepal would also request China to rebuild additional residential houses during post-quake reconstruction phase. China has already pledged to help build 90,000 private houses.