KATHMANDU, June 23: China has welcomed Nepal's decision not to be part of the State Partnership Program (SPP) of the US government.
Responding to media query during a regular press conference in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China commends Nepal's decision not to accept the SPP. "As Nepal is friendly and close neighbour and strategic cooperative partner, China commends the Nepali government’s decision," he said.
Spokesperson Wang said China will continue to support Nepal in upholding its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and support Nepal’s commitment to its independent and non-aligned foreign policy. "China stands ready to work with Nepal to jointly safeguard regional security, stability and shared prosperity," he further said.
Spokesperson Wang also said that they noticed the recent wide controversy over the SPP in Nepal. "Various political parties and factions, the government, the army and people across the Nepalese society see the SPP as a military and security initiative closely linked to the Indo-Pacific Strategy and they consider it against the national interests of Nepal and its long-held non-aligned, balanced foreign policy to be part of the SPP," he added, while responding to the query of China Daily.
A cabinet meeting held on Monday decided not to be part of the SPP following a serious controversy across the country. The meeting also decided to inform the US government in writing about Nepal's intention not to be part of the SPP.
Although Nepal is said to be part of the SPP a few years ago, the program lately courted controversy after a proposed draft of the SPP agreement that the US side reportedly handed over to Nepali political leadership was circulated publicly.
The issue became a matter of controversy as there are speculations that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is visiting the US to sign the agreement. Earlier, Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand had informed parliament that the government does not intend to sign any such agreements during the upcoming visit of PM Deuba to the US.