KATHMANDU, June 27: Prime Minister KP Oli has said Nepal and China will ink a trade and transit protocol in July this year.
Briefing parliament Tuesday on his recent China visit, Oli said the agreement couldn’t be reached during his visit as discussions on a few issues were not concluded. “Discussions on a few issues of the protocol are yet to conclude. I want to assure parliament that it will be prepared and signed next month,” said Oli.
Accusing the two previous governments of not working on the trade and transit understanding reached with China, Oli said his government has started homework for signing the agreement. “An agreement was made with China in 2016 during my first visit to the northern neighbor as prime minister. As the two previous governments did nothing to move forward the process, the draft of the protocol was gathering dust at the ministry and it took us a while to resume the process,” claimed Oli.
The prime minister made these comments while responding to a query by Nepali Congress lawmaker Dilendra Prasad Badu. Oli also informed the House that he has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang for Nepal visit. “I expect their visits to take place soon,” he said.
Claiming that his China visit was fruitful and the agreements with China were not against any other country, Oli told the lower house that Nepal will neither play one neighbor against another nor will it tilt to any side.
“We won’t tilt to any side as we have a clear foreign policy and we stand by Panchasheel, keep our national interest at the center and cannot support any activity that sparks tensions in our neighborhood,” he said.
According to the prime minister, the government will work on correcting the Lipu Lek agreement between China and India if it was against the geographical territory of Nepal. “Our land at the border shouldn’t be an issue of give and take of any other country. Our country is small but we won’t allow the other nations to encroach upon even a small piece of our land,” he said.
He informed that Nepal inked 22 agreements with China.