National interest will be at the centre: PM

Kathmandu, June 18

The government will keep national interest at the centre while holding talks and signing agreements and understandings with the Chinese side, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli told the Parliament today, a day before he leaves for China on a six-day official visit at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Stating that agreements and understandings related to railway, energy, post-earthquake reconstruction and infrastructure, among others, will be signed during the visit, the prime minister said: “I would like to assure all that bilateral agreements, understanding and talks will be carried out keeping at its heart the country’s national interest, self-respect, and today’s needs and priorities.”

According to the prime minister, the visit will focus on the implementation of agreements reached during his last visit to China in March 2016, including the landmark Transport Transit Agreement. Besides, some new agreements and understandings related to the Trans Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Transport Network encompassing roads, railway lines, aviation, optical fibre and some north-south corridors under the Belt and Road Initiative might also be signed.

“The agreements and understandings reached in 2016 not only remind us of the glorious history of our friendship and tradition, they also reflect the need of the present time and signal our journey of tomorrow,” he said. “This visit of mine will focus on additional discussions on those agreements and on things included in our joint statement.”

The PM said the government would convey to the Chinese side the priority of Nepal’s development agenda and discuss what type of cooperation the two sides could pursue, among other issues related to trade deficit, projects under the BRI Initiative, rail and road, hydropower and cross-border transmission line and attracting Chinese investment in Nepal. “I will put forth Nepal’s views on all these things during my talks in China,” said Oli.

During the visit, Oli will hold delegation-level bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart Li, and also hold meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chairman of Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu. Oli will also meet Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank President Jin Liqun.

Oli said his visit would expand, strengthen and take bilateral relations to new heights. “China is our old friend, with which we do not have any problem. It has always been a helpful country which has always respected our sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom,” he said.

He also said that Nepal understood sensitivities of China, and that it was fully committed to ‘One China Policy’. “No Anti-China activities will be allowed in Nepal,” he said.

Besides Beijing, the PM will also visit Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region of China, where he will meet provincial leaders and observe various agricultural, industrial and tourism projects. The two governments will also issue a joint statement on June 21.

The entourage of PM Oli comprises his spouse Radhika Shakya, Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun, Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth, Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister Bishnu Rimal, members of Parliament, high-ranking government officials, representatives of the private sector and mediapersons.

Oli and the delegation will return home on June 24.

Planned agreements and MoUs

  • Kerung-Kathmandu cross-border railway
  • Trans-Himalayan Multidimensional Connectivity Network
  • Setting up a ‘dialogue mechanism’ between energy ministries of two countries
  • Setting up a mechanism between foreign ministries of two countries
  • MoU on technology transfer and production capacity building
  • Protocol to Utilisation of Tibetan Highways for Transport of Nepali Cargo Through Tibet
  • Detailed Project Report of Kerung-Rasuwagadi-Galchhi cross-border transmission line
  • Two bridges—one that connects Rasuwagadi and Kerung and the other at the Tatopani border point
  • Energy cooperation between National Energy Administration of China and Nepal’s Ministry of Energy
  • 1,000-MW Marshyangdi Cascade hydropower project, a Nepal-China joint venture
  • China-Nepal Power Grid Interconnection agreement
  • Partnerships in the fields of agriculture, pashmina and cement
  • Opening eight entry points—Hilsa, Rasuwagadi, Riu Tipta La Pass of Taplejung, Pulan-Hilsa, Tinker-Darchula and Urai Pass Bajhang