Controversial Asia Pacific Summit begins today

The event organisers should tell the people where so much money came from

Kathmandu, November 30

The Asia Pacific Summit 2018-Nepal, organised by the controversial South Korea-based Universal Peace Federation and supported by the Government of Nepal, kicks off in Kathmandu tomorrow. Around 1,500 guests, including Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, are taking part in the event.

Other notable attendees include senior leader of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party Vijay Jolly, former Indian prime minister HD Devegowda, former Pakistani prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Nauru President Baron Waqa, Philippines Vice-president Maria Leonor G Robredo, Samoa Head of State Vaaleto’a Sualauvi II Tuimalealiifano and Tuvalu Governor General Iakoba TaeiaItaleli, according to Bishnu Giri, media coordinator for the event.

Speakers of parliaments, parliamentarians, religious leaders, women leaders and representatives of the media, academia, business, arts and civil society are also attending the event.

On the eve of the formal launch of the event, the government this evening hosted welcome dinner for heads of state/government at Soaltee Crowne Plaza, and for other summit participants at Hyatt Regency. Former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal welcomed the guests at Soaltee event, while Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel greeted the participants at Hyatt.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will open the event tomorrow morning with an inaugural speech, while six incumbent and two former heads of state/government will deliver keynote addresses. The government and the organisers have claimed the event would help promote tourism and support ‘Visit Nepal Year 2020’ initiative, highlight the successfully concluded peace process and promulgation of new constitution and explore new diplomatic and business opportunities for Nepal.

However, the government has been criticised for its association with the non-government organisation that has landed in controversy in Nepal for promoting Christianity.

The government has also invited criticism for the huge amount being spent for hosting the controversial event, imposition of the odd-even number plate system (revoked earlier today after severe criticism) and traffic blockade to make way for visitors’ motorcade.

Even leaders from the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) criticised the government. “We need to keep in mind national interest, diplomatic dignity and repercussions,” NCP leader and former deputy prime minister Bhim Rawal said in a Twitter post this afternoon. “Those organising the event in the name of peace should tell the people where so much money came from. Or else, the government should investigate and tell.”