New vistas of cooperation will open: Gyawali

Kathmandu, June 14

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s six-day official visit to China slated for June 19 will be aimed at opening new vistas of cooperation between the two countries and ensuring implementation of agreements reached between the two countries during Oli’s previous visit to Beijing in March 2016, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali today.

“We hope Nepal-China relations will reach new heights following the visit,” said Gyawali at a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Gyawali, however, said the signing of the Protocol to Transit Transport Agreement, which was signed during Oli’s last China visit, was less likely. “Serious discussions are under way on land as well as sea ports. Even if we can’t sign it now, it will be signed soon,” he said.

Among the new agreements to be signed during the visit are those related to the concept of Trans-Himalayan Multidimensional Connectivity Network that encompasses railways, roads, aviation, optical fibre, port, transmission lines and cultural exchanges.

Important agreements, especially in the energy sector, between the private sectors of the two countries will also be signed, according to the minister. The agreements include 1,000-MW Marshyangdi Cascade (three projects), a joint venture between Sichuan Provincial Investment Group and Butwal Power Company, and another hydropower project in the eastern region.

Other planned private-sector agreements are China-Nepal Power Grid Interconnection agreement between Nepal Electricity Authority and State Grid Corporation of China, and partnerships in the fields of agriculture, pashmina and cement.

On projects under the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative, Gyawali said project implementation and financing modalities were being discussed and projects were being prioritised.

An agreement to use Tibetan highways for ferrying goods to Nepal will also be signed under which eight entry points will be used, including Hilsa, Rasuwagadi, Riu Tipta La Pass of Taplejung, Pulan-Hilsa, Tinker-Darchula and Urai Pass Bajhang.

Gyawali added that an agreement on Kerung-Kathmandu cross-border railway would be signed.

An agreement is also on the cards on setting up a mechanism between foreign ministries of Nepal and China which would facilitate dialogue between the two countries on a host of issues.

Other agreements planned, according to the minister, are a pact between finance ministries of two countries on building Nepal’s production capacity, an agreement on energy cooperation encompassing the overall energy sector development in Nepal and conducting feasibility studies and an agreement on cross-border electricity transmission line.

The minister, however, said there would be no agreement related to Nepal-China Free Trade Area.