See More on Facebook


US Embassy seeks clarification after Beijing says Nepal ‘disapproves’ of Indo-Pacific Strategy

Nepal is seen as a key part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Written by

Updated: September 12, 2019

The US Embassy in Kathmandu has sought clarification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a statement released by Beijing summarising a meeting with Pushpa Kamal Dahal, a co-chairman of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, said Nepal “disapproves” of the US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy.

“We are seeking a clarification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” a US Embassy spokesperson told the Post on Wednesday. “We await the Nepali government’s official clarification and we have asked our Embassy in Beijing to verify the statement issued there. If true, it is bewildering that we now learn about Nepal’s positions from statements issued from Beijing.”

The contents of the statements released by the Chinese foreign ministry were reported by The Post on Wednesday. According to one of the statements, in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Dahal said that Nepal firmly adheres to the non-alignment policy, disapproves of the so-called ‘Indo-Pacific strategy’, and opposes any attempt to stop the development of China.

Wang was in Kathmandu for a three-day visit to lay the groundwork for a potential stopover by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Wang held talks with President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, and two former prime ministers—Dahal and Sher Bahadur Deuba.

A member of Dahal’s private secretariat confirmed to the Post on Wednesday that Dahal told Wang that Nepal disowns any policy or strategy targeted at any nation in general and a neighbouring country in particular.

“If Indo-Pacific Strategy is to target China, we cannot accept it,” Dahal told Wang, according to Dahal’s press coordinator Bishnu Sapkota, who participated in the meeting. “If the Indo-Pacific Strategy is targeted at any country, it is not acceptable to us. Nepal has long been pursuing a policy that any plan or strategy should not target our neighbours. We want to make it clear that this is our party and our government’s policy too.”

Randy Berry, US Ambassador to Nepal, will be meeting with Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi on Thursday to verify if such a statement was made, and if so, what will that mean for Nepal’s position in the Indo-Pacific Strategy, according to the Foreign Ministry and the US Embassy in Kathmandu.

Nepal’s inclusion in the US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy came to light when Foreign Minister Gyawali travelled to Washington, DC in December and held talks with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The two leaders reportedly discussed the US’ Asia policy, also known as the Indo-Pacific Strategy, and Nepal’s key role in a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Gyawali, however, later refuted the US State Department statement that said Nepal is part of the larger US-led initiative. Holding a press conference days after he returned from Washington, Gyawali told media persons that though Nepal’s role in the Indo-Pacific region was discussed during his meeting with Pompeo, they did not talk particularly about the Indo-Pacific Strategy.

“Since Nepal is the SAARC chair and a member state of BIMSTEC, the US reckons that Nepal can play a crucial role in the Indo-Pacific region. But reports about the US including Nepal in its Indo-Pacific Strategy are false,” he said during the press meet last December, emphasising the fact that that ‘region’ and ‘strategy’ are two different things.

Later, two US officials who visited Kathmandu categorically reiterated that Nepal is very much part of the US-led initiative. In June, a report from the US Department of Defense also stated that the United States seeks to “expand” its defence relationship with Nepal under the ‘State Partnership Program in the Indo-Pacific.’

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

The Kathmandu Post
About the Author: The Kathmandu Post was Nepal’s first privately owned English broadsheet daily and is currently the country's leading English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


Pakistan strongly condemns India’s remarks about ‘having control’ of AJK one day

The remarks were made by India’s foreign minister. India’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that Azad Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India and that he expected New Delhi to gain physical control over it one day, raising the rhetoric over the territorial dispute. In response, Pakistan strongly condemned and rejected “the inflammatory and irresponsible remarks made by the Indian External Affairs Minister regarding Pakistan and AJK”, according to a statement by the Foreign Office. The statement also called upon the international community to take note of the “aggressive posturing”. India claims the heavily populated Kashmir Valley while Pakistan has a wedge of territory in the west of the disputed region — Azad Jammu and Kashmir. “Our position on [Azad Kashmir] is, has always been and will always be very clear. [Azad Kashmir] is part of India and we expec

By Dawn
September 18, 2019


Japan officially removed from South Korea’s whitelist

Seoul has threatened the move for weeks. South Korea excluded Japan from its export controls whitelist Wednesday in retaliation for Tokyo’s earlier decision to remove Seoul from its list of favored trade partners, as bilateral relations have slumped to the lowest levels since normalizing diplomatic ties in 1965. “The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has published the revision of the nation’s trade controls on strategic items in an official gazette and it took effect from Wednesday,” said the ministry spokesperson through a statement. Since the Aug. 12 announcement by Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo that Korea would drop Japan as a preferred trading partner, the ministry has completed the necessary administrative steps, such as soliciting opinions from the public and submitting the revised rules to the Office of Legislation for review. “We have received opinions from the public throu

By The Korea Herald
September 18, 2019


Beijing lauds Solomon Islands’ move to break ties with Taiwan authorities

The United States has condemned the move. China highly commends the decision of the Solomon Islands’ government to recognize the one-China principle and sever the so-called “diplomatic ties” with the Taiwan authorities, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said late on Monday. Hua’s comment came as the Pacific island nation decided earlier on Monday at a cabinet meeting that it would break the so-called “diplomatic ties” with the Taiwan authorities and establish diplomatic relationship with Beijing. Hua said in an online statement that Beijing supports the Solomon Islands’ government in “making such an important decision as a sovereign and independent country”. Beijing has made it clear that there is but one China in the world, that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government that represents the who

By China Daily
September 18, 2019


S.E. Asian manufacturing sees opportunity in U.S.-China row

By Shingo Sugime and Yoichiro Tanaka / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondents. Southeast Asian countries are intensifying their efforts to attract companies planning to move production bases outside China, as the United States and China have become entrenched in tit-for-tat sanctions and retaliatory tariffs. To attract the needed outside investment, they are offering tax incentives and other benefits. ‘Thailand Plus’ “We see the U.S.-China trade frictions as an opportunity to expand our efforts to attract foreign companies,” Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak told reporters after a Cabinet meeting on Sept. 10. On that day, the Thai government adopted what it calls the “Thailand Plus” package of preferential measures for companies that relocate factories and other facilities from China. A corporate tax deduction of up to 50 p

By The Japan News
September 18, 2019


Pyongyang confirms ready to resume talks, but gives conditions

Foreign minister confuses lawmakers on whether North Korean leader’s letter to Trump was different to one already made public. The long-stalled US-North Korea working level talks on denuclearization could take place soon, a senior North Korea official signaled in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency on Monday that also set out conditions for the resumption of dialogue. The director general of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s department of American affairs said working-level talks will likely take place in a few weeks. He said the two countries may forge closer relations or hostility depend on what Washington brings to the table. But he also set out a number of conditions.

By The Korea Herald
September 17, 2019


President blames China for ‘suppressing Taiwan int’l space’

The Solomon Islands is the latest country to not recognise Taiwan. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) strongly condemned Solomon Islands’ decision to establish diplomatic relations with China in a major statement released on Monday. The president blamed China for using “financial and political pressure to suppress Taiwan’s international space” and called Beijing’s action “a threat,” but also a “brazen challenge and detriment to the international order.” Taiwan’s attitude towards its diplomatic allies has been one of sincere friendship, she said, stressing that Taiwan spares “no effort” and treats allies with “sincerity.” In the face of China’s alleged interference, however, she added that “we will not stand to be threatened, nor will we be subjected to ceaseless demands.” The president also stressed that Taiwan will not engage in “dollar diplomacy” with China

By ANN Members
September 17, 2019