Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli and CPN-Maoist Centre Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal separately today.

According to CPN-UML leader Rajan Bhattarai, Oli urged the Chinese FM to open the northern border that has been shut since the onslaught of COVID pandemic.

Oli also urged Wang to allow Nepali students stranded in Nepal due to COVID restrictions imposed by China to return.

Hundreds of Nepali students, particularly those pursuing medical education in China, remain stranded in Nepal due to China's strict COVID safety rules. Even the students who have received both doses of COVID vaccine are not being allowed to return to China to resume their studies.

Asked if the recently ratified Millennium Challenge Corporation compact came up for discussion, Bhattarai said, "MCC and other such issues are bilateral issues between Nepal and the USA and third party should not be linked to bilateral issues.

China should also not get involved in bilateral issues."

He said Wang's visit was a positive step as it provided an opportunity to top leaders of both the countries to interact.

Wang also met Dahal today.

According to CPN-MC leader Shakti Basnet, they discussed implementation of BRI projects in Nepal. Dahal told Wang to open the northern border to reduce Nepal's trade deficit with China. He told Wang that Nepal was committed to one-China policy and would not allow its soil to be used against China.

Asked if Wang raised MCC issue, Basnet said, "Wang told us that China respects Nepal's decisions taken to serve its long-term interests."

China had made its discomfiture about MCC known before the $500 million project was ratified by the House of Representatives.

China had wondered whether MCC would open a Pandora's box for Nepal. A policy analyst had said China's remarks about MCC were uncalled for.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 28, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.