Nepal supports Xi’s vital initiatives and concepts, PM Dahal says

The two leaders agreed that for regional peace, prosperity, and stability, there should be cooperation with all regional powers. They also agreed to deepen cooperation, mindful of mutual concerns and sensitivities.

Anil Giri

Anil Giri

The Kathmandu Post


Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hangzhou, the capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, on September 23, 2023. PHOTO: PM’S SECRETARIAT/ THE KATHMANDU POST

September 25, 2023

KATHMANDU – Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that Nepal supports a series of important concepts and initiatives proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Dahal made such remarks in what was his fourth meeting with Chinese President Xi on Saturday. Dahal is on a week-long official trip to China, and held talks with Xi on the sidelines of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou on Saturday.

Dahal later attended the opening ceremony of the Games in Hangzhou. They met at the West Lake State Guesthouse there on Saturday after having lunch together.

“Nepal supports a series of important concepts and initiatives put forward by President Xi Jinping, and is willing to work with China to promote the development of the international order in a more just and reasonable direction, safeguard the common interests of developing countries, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind,” a statement issued by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Prime Minister Dahal as saying.

However, the statement does not spell out what important concepts and initiatives the prime minister pledged to support. In 2013, Chinese President Xi came up with the idea of the Belt and Road Initiative. Nepal joined the ambitious Chinese global infrastructure push in 2017. Even though there has been a lot of talk about the BRI’s execution in Nepal, not a single project under it has been taken up. Besides the BRI, the Chinese President also announced the Global Development Initiative (GDI) in 2021, the Global Security Initiative in 2022, and the Global Civilization Initiative in 2023, inviting the international community to join these undertakings.

Nepal has accepted two small projects under the GDI as it aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals but has refused to join the GSI as per its stated foreign policy.

In September last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised former President Bidya Devi Bhandari not to take part in a GSI-related event as the concept was still under the study of top political leadership, and no official decision was taken in Kathmandu after the Chinese side invited her to address the event remotely.

“It is our stated policy not to be part of any competitive security initiative, including the GSI, even though the Chinese President has made a request,” a senior official at the prime minister’s office had told the Post ahead of the visit.

“As there is no official decision to be a part of the GSI, we will not join or support any initiative with security and military overtones or one which pulls us into a security or military alliance.”

According to a statement issued by the prime minister’s private secretariat, Dahal and Xi held one-on-one talks, followed by delegation-level talks for almost an hour. Dahal had reached Hangzhou after completing his engagements in New York, where he participated in the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The two leaders agreed that for regional peace, prosperity, and stability, there should be cooperation with all regional powers. They also agreed to deepen cooperation, mindful of mutual concerns and sensitivities.

In an hour-long meeting, Xi said that based on the five principles of peaceful coexistence, Nepal and China have a close relationship with mutual respect, support, and equal existence, said the Nepali statement. Recalling the progress, he said that the relationship between the two countries will reach a higher level in the coming days.

Prime Minister Dahal, discussing the historical relationship between China and Nepal, said that Xi’s concepts of cooperation are important for the peace and progress in the region, according to the statement by the prime minister’s private secretariat.

Dahal stated that Nepal is committed to one-China policy and clarified that Nepal has an independent and non-aligned policy and cannot join any military or security pact. Dahal also recalled that the Belt and Road Initiative put forward by China could bring significant changes in Nepal’s infrastructure development. “The prime minister hoped that the development of China would help the development of the Asian region,” according to the statement by the Nepali side.

This is the fourth meeting between Dahal and Xi.

Dahal met Xi in 2013 soon after he was elected the President of China. After that, the two leaders met twice in India and China, during the BRICS outreach meeting organised in 2016 in Goa, and Dahal’s official visit to China in March, 2017.

Xi also recalled his previous meeting with Dahal during the delegation-level talks and said that since establishing diplomatic relations 68 years ago, the two countries have adhered to the five principles of peaceful coexistence and set an example of equal treatment and win-win cooperation between large and small countries.

“China and Nepal are partners and [provide] opportunities for each other on the road to national development and prosperity. China attaches great importance to China-Nepal relations and is willing to work with Nepal to strengthen the docking of development strategies and promote continuous new progress in China-Nepal relations,” said the Chinese foreign ministry.

Xi also emphasised the need for the two sides to always understand and support each other on issues involving core interests and concerns, and continuously consolidate the foundation of bilateral relations.

China-Nepal cooperation in jointly building the “Belt and Road” has continued to achieve positive results, and the Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network has begun to take shape, said Xi, adding that the two sides should focus on promoting infrastructure connectivity, expanding transit transportation cooperation, and help Nepal transform from a ‘land-locked country’ to a ‘land-linked country’ at an early date.

During his state visit to Nepal in 2019, Xi stressed Nepal’s transformation from a landlocked country to a land-linked country. At the time, the two countries had reached a series of agreements.

Several foreign policy experts said that besides seeking grants and loans for additional projects, Nepal and China should focus on implementing past accords and agreements, including those signed during Xi’s visit to Kathmandu.

“China encourages Chinese enterprises to invest and start business in Nepal and promote Nepal’s exports to China,” added Xi. “China is willing to strengthen exchanges of experience in state governance with Nepal and provide assistance within its capacity to Nepal’s economic and social development.

“China and Nepal share extensive common interests in international and regional affairs. China is willing to strengthen multilateral cooperation with Nepal, safeguard the common interests of the two countries and developing countries, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind,” Xi told Dahal, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.

In response, Dahal hailed Xi as a visionary world leader and a good friend of the Nepali people.

“Under the leadership of President Xi, China has made world-renowned development achievements… Nepal and China are friends and partners who understand each other deeply and support each other,” said Dahal, thanking China for its help in economic construction and poverty alleviation in Nepal.

On one-China policy, Dahal told Xi that Taiwan and Tibet are both inalienable parts of China.

Nepal will not allow any force to use its territory for actions that undermine China’s sovereignty and security, Dahal told Xi.

“Nepal will actively participate in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and promote the construction of the Trans-Himalayan Multidimensional Connectivity Network, which it believes will greatly assist Nepal’s economic development,” Dahal said.

After completing his engagements in Hangzhou, the prime minister will leave for Beijing on September 24 and will address the China-Nepal Investment Summit jointly organised by the China Council for Promotion of International Trade and the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

On September 25, Dahal will meet Zhou Li, the chairman of the standing committee of the National Committee of the National People’s Congress, and will hold delegation-level talks with his Chinese counterpart, Li Qiang, followed by the signing of some agreements and MoUs, according to officials preparing the prime minister’s itinerary.

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