Kathmandu, October 13
Chinese President Xi Jinping today wrapped up his two-day state visit to Nepal with the signing of 18 memorandums of understanding and two letters of intent.
After the delegation-level talks between Xi and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli at Hotel Soaltee this morning, ministers and officials of the two countries exchanged the MoUs and letters of intent in the presence of the two leaders.
The major pacts include the MoU between the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport of Nepal and the Ministry of Transport of China on Feasibility Study of China-Nepal Cross-Border Railway Project and the MoU between the Ministry of Finance of Nepal and China International Development Cooperation Agency on Tunnels Construction Cooperation.
The agreements are in line with Xi’s last evening’s banquet address in which he had expressed commitment to help turn land-locked Nepal into a ‘land-linked country’ by boosting connectivity between the two countries. He had said a feasibility study of trans-Himalayan railway would start immediately and China would support construction of Kerung-Kathmandu tunnel road.
The two sides also signed the Agreement on the Boundary Management System, MoU on the Exchanges and Cooperation on Governance Capacity Building and Treaty between Nepal and the People’s Republic of China on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.
Although the two sides had also discussed Extradition Treaty, the government had said before Xi’s visit that such a treaty would not be signed.
Other major pacts are MoU on Establishment of Investment Cooperation Working Group between the Ministry of Finance of Nepal and the Ministry of Commerce of China and MoU between the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies of Nepal and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China on the Establishment of Joint Working Group on Trade.
The two sides also signed agreements to establish sister-city relationship between Kathmandu Metropolitan City and China’s Nanjing city and between Butwal Sub-Metropolitan City and China’s Xi’an city.
At the outset of the bilateral talks that began at around 11:00 am, Oli thanked Xi for the historic visit and his harmonious banquet speech last evening. Oli expressed hope the visit would elevate bilateral relations to new heights.
After the signing ceremony, Xi left for the airport at around 12:45 pm. He had arrived in Kathmandu at 4:46pm yesterday on the invitation of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari.
Bhandari saw Xi off at Tribhuvan International Airport. Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun, Prime Minister Oli, National Assembly Chairperson Ganesh Prasad Timilsena, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali and other top government officials were also present at the airport to see Xi off. After receiving the Guard of Honour, Xi embarked his special aircraft for Beijing at around 2:15 pm. Several ethnic cultural performances were organised at the airport in his honour.
People gathered all along Xi’s route from the hotel to the airport to bid him goodbye.
In a Twitter post just after Xi left for Beijing, Oli said the historic two-day state visit of Chinese President Xi concluded in a grand manner. “His visit has elevated bilateral relations to new heights,” he said in the post. “I would like to express my gratitude to President Xi for showing goodwill to Nepal and Nepali people.”
A version of this article appears in print on October 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.