KATHMANDU, Oct 18: Information minister and government spokesperson Gokul Baskota has said that the strategic partnership mentioned in the joint statement during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping doesn’t reflect the military cooperation between Nepal and China.
Responding to questions from journalists during the weekly press conference on Thursday, Baskota said the strategic partnership with China aims at long-term cooperation between the two countries for the development of Nepal. “We are clear that this partnership is only related to development and prosperity. There is no need to interpret it as military cooperation,” said Baskota.
The joint statement issued on Sunday at the end of the state visit of the Chinese president had mentioned a phrase ‘strategic partnership of cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity’ sparking doubts of military alliance with China. The government has been facing criticism over its commitment to Indo-Pacific strategy pushed by the USA, which is believed to be a counter-alliance against increasing Chinese influence in South Asia.
Spokesperson Baskota claimed that Nepal strongly adheres to the principles of the non-alignment movement and doesn’t take part in any alliance related to military cooperation. “We have not even imagined about any military alliance but we welcome assistance from our neighboring countries on capacity enhancement of our military. We are taking such assistance from both India and China,” he further reiterated.
Baskota termed the visit of Chinese President Xi as historically successful in terms of enhancing the political relations and agreements signed during the visit. Nepal and China signed 18 agreements and two exchange of letters during the two-day state visit of Xi.
“China has expressed strong support and cooperation to help Nepal realize its dream to become land-linked country from land-locked one. The success of the visit can’t be measured in terms of money,” he added.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to extend the term of the probe committee under Crime Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police formed to implement the report of anomalies in the land owned by government, public and trusts until December 14, according to Baskota.