Nepal | January 16, 2021

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe to arrive in Nepal tomorrow

THT Online
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KATHMANDU: China’s Minister of National Defence and the first-ranked State Councillor, Wei Fenghe, is paying a one-day working visit to Nepal on Sunday.

File – Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe speaks during the fourth plenary session of the 18th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defence and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, on Sunday, June 2, 2019. Photo: AP

The Chinese Defence Minister is scheduled to pay courtesy calls on President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed Rastriya Samachar Samiti.

He is also scheduled to meet with Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Purna Chandra Thapa.

The Chinese defence minister’s Nepal visit is taking place two days after India’s high profile government official — Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla — visited Nepal at the invitation of his Nepali counterpart Bharat Raj Paudyal.

His visit follows three high-level officials’ visit from India within the last one and a half months and at the time when the rift within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has deepened.

The high-level diplomatic visits from both the southern and northern neighbours have been viewed as evidence of the increasing strategic rivalry between them in Nepal as China also has a border dispute with India.

Earlier, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane was in Nepal from November 4 to 6.

Likewise, on October 21, Chief of Research and Analysis Wing — the foreign intelligence agency of India — Samant Kumar Goel met Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in Kathmandu.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi is known to have met with ruling NCP (NCP)’s senior leaders at a time when rift within the party has been heading towards a climax.

Previously, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Nepal in October last year. The Chinese president had proposed defence cooperation between Nepal and China during his visit.

Chinese Defence Minister Fenghe will leave Kathmandu in the evening tomorrow itself, according to MoFA.

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