March 22, 2017 07:30 AM NPT
By: Ashok Dahal
Nepal to submit official response on OBOR
KATHMANDU, March 22: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is unlikely to sign any major deal with China during his week-long visit to the northern neighbor scheduled to start from Thursday. The prime minister will first attend the Boao Forum for Asia conference, and then go on to Beijing for political meetings.
The government is preparing to give Nepal’s official response to China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) cooperation proposal during Dahal’s visit, sources said. The sources said a cabinet meeting has been called for Wednesday morning to finalize the draft of Nepal’s official response on OBOR and other agenda.
Dahal is set to fly via Guangzhou Thursday night to participate in the 2017 annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia, which is scheduled from March 23 to 26 in Boao in China’s Hainan province. The prime minister is scheduled to return to Kathmandu on March 29.
Though there were high expectations of the signing of OBOR, a cross-border railway link deal and some other important agreements, sources at the Office of the Prime Minister say the possibility of signing any major agreement during the prime minister’s visit is low.
“There will be some verbal commitments but signing of agreements is unlikely due to time constraints, and the two sides have agreed to make it a formal visit and not an official or state visit,” said the source.
Both the Chinese prime minister and foreign minister will be out of China during Dahal’s visit, as they are scheduled to be in New Zealand and Australia from March 26-29.
Meanwhile, Minister of Defense and State Councilor of China Chang Wanquan is arriving in Kathmandu on Thursday. He will call on Prime Minister Dahal hours before Dahal flies to China.
Dahal to meet Xi for 15 minutes
KATHMANDU, March 22 : Dahal will attend the Boao conference till March 25 and fly to Beijing later that same day. His meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping has been fixed for March 27. “The prime minister will meet Xi for 15 minutes,” said the source, requesting anonymity.
Sources also said Dahal had earlier informed the Chinese side that he would not visit China if he couldn’t meet the Chinese president during the visit. The Chinese side then managed to schedule a brief meeting with Xi, they said.
Asked about this, Prime Minister Dahal’s press adviser Govinda Acharya said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was working on the details of the visit. “I am not in a position to give any details now,” he said.
Dahal will also take part in a conference organized by Chinese investors in Beijing, prolonging his stay in the Chinese capital to March 27. He will reach Lhasa in Tibet on March 28 and stay there overnight. He is scheduled to arrive back in Kathmandu on March 29.
Officials said Dahal will be accompanied by his spouse Sita, Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat and Foreign Secretary Shankar Bairagi, among others.