KATHMANDU, May 7: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's forthcoming visit to Vietnam and Cambodia is aimed at exploring mutually beneficial new areas of cooperation, a key aide to the prime minister said on Tuesday.
Rajan Bhattarai, the foreign relations advisor to the prime minister, said that Nepal has been maintaining good ties with Vietnam and Cambodia for a long time though there were little diplomatic engagements with these countries.
"Vietnam is one of the emerging economies in South East Asia which has achieved political stability following the conflict. During the prime minister's visit, we will explore areas of cooperation with Vietnam in various fields including trade, culture and tourism," Bhattarai said at an interaction organized by Reporters' Club in the capital.
"A high-level visit is going to take place after a long time at the invitation of Vietnamese Prime Minister where our prime minister will get an opportunity to study how development is taking place there," he said.
The prime minister is visiting the country following repeated invitations from the Vietnamese counterpart, he said.
"The government has already decided to celebrate 2020 as Nepal Tourism Year. In this context, we hope that the visit will contribute to attract more Buddhist tourists from Vietnam to Nepal as majority of the people in Vietnam are Buddhists," Bhattarai said.
Prime Minister Oli is also scheduled to deliver a key note address at the UN Vesak Day to be observed on May 12, according to Bhattarai.
"India's Vice President, Malaysian Prime Minister and top dignitaries from various countries are also participating in the same event," he said.
During the visit to Cambodia, the two sides will explore areas of cooperation in the field of tourism, trade and investment, Bhattarai said. "Cambodia has made tremendous progress in the field of tourism in the recent years. We can learn from the experience of Vietnam," he said.
On the occasion, Nepal's former ambassador to United Nations Shamburam Simkhada said that the prime minister's visit to Cambodia and Vietnam can be productive to promote bilateral relationship between the two countries. "Cambodia and Vietnam have achieved sound economic growth following the prolonged conflict. We can learn from their experiences," he observed.
Foreign affairs expert Hiranya Lal Shrestha said "Nepal has been maintaining age-old cordial relationship with Cambodia. The prime minister's visit would be productive to promote Nepal's tourism."
Shrestha said that the Vesak Day conference to be held in Vietnam will be an important platform to promote Lumbini as the birthplace of the Lord Buddha in the international level.
Prime Minister Oli will visit Vietnam and Cambodia from May 9 to 15, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.