KATHMANDU, April 26: Prime Minister KP Oli is visiting Vietnam and Cambodia in the second week of May, highly-placed government sources said.
Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) is still making necessary preparations for the visit, sources said Prime Minister Oli is likely to leave for Vietnam on May 9 and fly back home on May 15 after paying a bilateral visit to Cambodia as well.
Prime Minister Oli is visiting Vietnam to attend the Vesak Day celebrations hosted by the Vietnamese government. After attending the function in Vietnam, the prime minister will be paying an official visit to Cambodia.
"Vesak", the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May, is considered the most sacred day to millions of Buddhists around the world. This day marks the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, whose thoughts spread Buddhism across the world.
The United Nations General Assembly, by its resolution 54/115 of 1999, recognized internationally the Day of Vesak to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism has made to establishing peace and spreading the message of non-violence.
Countries with majority Buddhist populations are organizing the Vesak Day celebrations. In 2017, Sri Lanka had hosted an event which was attended by President Bidya Devi Bhandari. The Vietnamese government has made preparations to celebrate the Vesak Day event from May 11 to 13. It has invited a number of heads of government or state to participate in the event.
Vietnam in recent years has drawn interest from around the world due to its miraculous economic growth. The visit by Prime Minister Oli will be the first ever visit by a sitting Nepali prime minister to Vietnam after the two countries established diplomatic relations on May 15, 1975.
In the course of his Vietnam visit, Prime Minister Oli is also scheduled to pay an official visit to Cambodia at the invitation of his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen. During his recent visit to Nepal to attend the Asia Pacific Summit held in Kathmandu, Prime Minister Hun Sen had extended an invitation to Prime Minister Oli to visit Cambodia at a convenient time.
Oli's visit it expected to be helpful bringing in more Buddhist pilgrims from these countries as Nepal is the birth place of Lord Buddha. Homework is currently underway to launch direct flights between Kathmandu and Phnom Penh.