KATHMANDU, Oct 13: Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ongoing visit is an opportunity to take Nepal-China relations to new heights, leaders from across the political spectrum have said.
Xi arrived in Kathmandu Saturday afternoon on a two-day visit, becoming the first Chinese president to visit Nepal in the last 23 years.
Talking to Republica, leaders from across the political parties described the visit as a diplomatic success and urged the Oli government to make the most of it for strengthening bilateral ties, especially on the economic front.
Former prime minister and leader of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) Madhav Kumar Nepal said that this high-level visit from China after a hiatus of 23 years is welcome news. “Xi’s visit holds huge significance for promoting bilateral ties,” Nepal said, describing the visit as something that Nepalis have been eagerly awaiting for years.
Nepal, who also heads the ruling party’s foreign affairs department, underscored the need for willpower on the part of the government for putting across its wishes and for doing so openly so that the country can gain optimum advantage.
Nepal, leader Nepal said, should try to follow in China’s footsteps for economic growth and development.
“For that a series of extensive talks and exchanges of experience are vital,” he said adding, “The Nepali side should speak openly to Xi on Nepal’s concerns and its welfare.”
Former deputy prime minister and Nepali Congress leader Sujata Koirala hoped that Xi’s visit here would highlight the importance of Nepal in the world.
“Such a high-level visit after more than two decades will provide the world a different outlook on Nepal,” Koirala said.
The Xi visit is highly significant, Koirala said. “China has helped Nepal through times of difficulty.
Nepal will now make another big leap. Development will be expedited. It is encouraging,” she said further adding, “The BRI [belt and road initiative] launched by China is a good initiative and Nepal should take advantage of it.”
Former minister of foreign affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey also believes that Sino-Nepal ties will reach new heights after Xi’s state visit. Pandey said, “That President Xi Jinping is visiting Nepal is a matter of pride for us as China is a reliable neighbour and close friend of Nepal.”
Referring to the long gap since the last high-level visit from China to Nepal, Pandey stated that political instability in Nepal was the major factor behind this.
Pandey said the Xi visit would inject fresh impetus into bilateral relations between Nepal and China. “Delivering speeches alone doesn’t deepen ties. We should also be practical. Mutual benefit should be at the center of bilateral relations,” Pandey added.
Several party leaders including Sher Bahadur Deuba and Gagan Thapa of the main opposition Nepali Congress took to social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter to welcome Xi.