China hopes for stability in Nepal as PM Oli steps down

BEIJING: China's foreign ministry said on Tuesday it hoped that all parties in Nepal put national interest first and worked for stability, after the landlocked country's prime minister resigned, nine months after coming to power.

Nepali Prime Minister KP Oli resigned on Sunday, minutes before parliament was to vote on a no-confidence motion he was likely to lose.

The no-confidence motion was brought by former Maoist rebels who propped up the Oli-led government last October, but fell out with him after accusing him of failing to honor a power-sharing deal.

Oli's departure plunges the Himalayan country, plagued by political turmoil for years, into a whole new round of political uncertainty. This is the country's 23rd government to fall since a multi-party democracy began in 1990 after bloody protests, and the political tumult has weighed on business confidence.

China is vying to increase its influence in Nepal, challenging India's long-held position as the dominant outside power.

When Oli visited China in March, he signed a deal allowing Nepal to use China's ports for trading goods with third countries, potentially ending India's decades-long monopoly over the impoverished country's trading routes.

"As a neighbour and friend, China genuinely hopes that all parties and sides in Nepal put the national and people's interests first, and dedicate themselves to effecting Nepal's stability and development," China's foreign ministry said in a brief statement.

"China and Nepal have been through thick and thin together, and no matter the changes in the international or domestic situation, the direction of China and Nepal's friendship and mutually beneficially cooperation will not change."