Kathmandu, April 13 Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali is heading to China on April 16 to line up Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s yet-to-be-finalised sojourn to Beijing. PM Oli, having paid a state visit to India recently, is expected to visit China in the middle of this year in line with Nepal’s policy of maintaining equal relations with the neighbouring countries. Immediately after his appointment as foreign minister, Gyawali had said Oli would visit both the neighbours this year, while the PM has publicly said he will soon visit China. Gyawali, who is paying an official visit to China from April 16 to 21 at the invitation of State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Yi, will lead a delegation comprising Nepal’s Ambassador to China Leela Mani Paudyal, senior officials of the MoFA and the Nepali Embassy in Beijing, according to a statement issued by the MoFA. Gyawali’s visit will focus on preparing ground for Oli’s upcoming visit, and no agreement will be signed, according to MoFA officials. “Agreements, if any, will be signed during PM Oli’s visit,” said one of the MoFA officials. “This is a goodwill visit to show good neighbourly relations are Nepal’s priority.” Gyawali will follow up on agreements signed when Oli visited China in 2016 during his first stint as the country’s prime minister. Among other agreements, Oli had signed a landmark Trade and Transit Agreement with China. Other issues, such as trade deficit, opening of Tatopani customs, exploring possibilities of the signing of bilateral free trade agreement, Rasuwagadi-Kathmandu road, cross-border railway and status of Chinese-funded projects in Nepal are also expected to figure in the talks, according to a high-level MoFA official. Gyawali will board an evening flight on April 16 and reach Beijing in the morning the following day. Ambassador Paudyal will host a welcome reception in honour of Gyawali the same evening. On April 18, Gyawali is scheduled to meet Chinese state leader in the morning. Although the Chinese side is yet to finalise the name of the state leader, it will most probably be Premier Li Keqiang or Chinese vice-president Wang Qishan, according to the MoFA official. After his meeting with the state leader, Gyawali will hold delegation-level talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, which will be followed by a joint press address. Wang Yi will also host a luncheon in honour of the visiting Nepali minister. On April 19, Gyawali will address an event organised by China Reform Forum, a think-tank including experts and those interested in Nepal affairs. The same evening, Gyawali will leave for Chengdu City of Sichuan Province, where he will meet provincial leaders. He will also address a programme at the Sichuan University on April 20.
Gyawali to prepare the ground for PM’s China visit
Published: 01:04 pm Apr 14, 2018