Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi (center) arrives at the Tribhuvan International Airport on Sunday for a three-day visit to Nepal. Photo: Dipesh Shrestha/Republica
KATHMANDU, Sept 9: Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Kathmandu on a three-day official visit to Nepal on Sunday. The visit is expected to expedite implementation of various projects that Nepal and China have agreed in the past and also lay the ground for the much-anticipated visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal.
State Minister for Health and Population Dr Surendra Yadav and Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi welcomed Foreign Minister Wang upon his arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu. Wang came from Pakistan after participating in the Third China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Islamabad.
Wang is scheduled to hold delegation-level talks with his Nepali counterpart Pradeep Gyawali Monday afternoon. Sources said the delegation-level talks will largely focus on expediting implementation of various nine projects identified by Nepal for implementation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The two foreign ministers are also likely to witness signing of some new cooperation agreements.
The delegation-level talks are expected to reach an agreement on mandate and work plan of some of projects under consideration under the BRI framework. The projects that Nepal is considering to implement under the BRI framework include Kathmandu-Kerung rail (feasibility study), the 762MW- Tamor Hydroelectricity Project, upgradation of Rasuwagadhi-Kathmandu road, Tokha-Bidur road and Phukut Karnali Hydroelectricity Project. Construction of Kimathanka-Hile road, road linking Dipayal to the border of China and the 400KV-Galchhi-Rasuwagadhi-Kerung transmission line are also among the projects under consideration.
Earlier, the two countries had agreed to implement Nepal-China Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network including Nepal-China cross-border railway. These projects were also incorporated in the joint communiqué issued after the conclusion of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing in April.
Prior to the delegation-level talks, Wang is likely to fly to Mustang on Monday morning if the weather is favorable. Although government officials have not disclosed anything about the visit, it is learnt that security agencies in Pokhara and Mustang have been put on alert for Wang’s possible visit.
After the delegation-level talks between the two ministers, Wang is scheduled to pay courtesy calls on Prime Minister KP Oli at his official residence in Baluwatar and on President Bidya Devi Bhandari at Shital Niwas.
Sources said the Nepali side will be proposing the Chinese side to extend help in the establishment of Madan Bhandari University—a university named after the late communist leader Bhandari, the husband of President Bidya Devi Bhandari.
Foreign Minister Gyawali, Prime Minister Oli and President Bhandari will be asking the Chinese side to put the establishment of Madan Bhandari University under high priority as China has announced to support the establishment of 100 universities around the world under the BRI framework.
Foreign Minister Gyawali will host a banquet in honor of Wang in the evening. Wang is scheduled to hold separate meetings with the main opposition Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and ruling Nepal Communist Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Tuesday morning before flying back home in the afternoon.
Wang’s visit is expected to pave the way for the much-anticipated visit of President Xi in Nepal as he is expected visit Nepal in the course of his five-day state visit to India beginning from October 11. President Bhandari during her visit to China in April had extended invitation to the Chinese president to visit Nepal. President Xi had then expressed his willingness to visit Nepal at a convenient time.