Dahal’s remark on Indo-Pacific Strategy courts controversy

Published On: September 12, 2019 09:07 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

US embassy seeks govt’s position over the statement 

KATHMANDU, Sept 12: Chairman of ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal has courted controversy yet again after his name surfaced in a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry of China on Tuesday in which Dahal was quoted as saying that Nepal disapproved the Indo-Pacific Strategy unveiled by the United States. 

The statement of China’s foreign ministry in Mandarin regarding Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s meeting with Dahal in Kathmandu said Nepal “disapproves the so-called Indo-Pacific Strategy” of the United States, according to Google translation. 

Sources at Dahal’s Personal Secretariat said although Dahal had not made any remark similar to the one mentioned in the statement, he had indeed said that Indo-Pacific Strategy was unacceptable to Nepal if it was aimed against any of its neighbor. 

“If the Indo-Pacific Strategy is aimed against any of our neighbors it won’t be acceptable to Nepal. Nepal won’t accept any project that is targeted against any neighbor,” the source quoted Dahal as saying during his meeting with Wang on Tuesday. 

Dahal, who previously irked Washington with his strong-worded statement on Venezuela in which he criticized the US as an imperialist power, has again courted controversy with his latest statement on Indo-Pacific Strategy. 

Chairman Dahal had said that US recognition of opposition leader in Venezuela was “an unacceptable intrusion in internal affairs and an attempt of imperialist coup.”

The US Embassy had then sought clarification from the government if Dahal’s statement reflected the official position of the government on the issue of Venezuela crisis. Dahal made headlines again after he hosted a visiting Venezuelan delegation led by the son of embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro in Nepal in July. 

A spokesperson at the US Embassy in Kathmandu said they are awaiting Nepal government’s official clarification over the latest remarks of the ruling party chairman. 

“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 position from statements issued from Beijing,” said the spokesperson. 

Although US has maintained that all its support programs to Nepal including Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) are part of the Indo-Pacific Strategy, the government officials have been saying that Nepal is not a part of any military or strategic alliance of any of the major powers.

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