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China Inks Three Bilateral Pacts With Nepal Ahead of Expected Xi Jinping Visit

CC0 / / Kathmandu, Nepal (File)
Kathmandu, Nepal (File) - Sputnik International
New Delhi (Sputnik): China and Nepal have signed three aid and development deals and are close to finalising the visit of President Xi Jinping to Kathmandu, probably at the end of October.

The Foreign Ministers of China and Nepal, Wang Yi and Pradeep Kumar Gyawali have attended the signing of the three bilateral agreements following a series of talks.

Media reports said that China would provide $3.03 million to establish a hospital in Nepal’s Manang district, 5,000 sets of tarpaulins for use during emergencies, and volunteers to teach Chinese language in Nepali schools. China also announced a grant of over $138,000 to provide relief for flood victims in Nepal.

Prior to the talks, Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said that both sides would discuss how to implement joint projects under China’s ambitiously conceived Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

In March 2017, Nepal and China signed a bilateral pact on One Belt One Road (OBOR), now known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Kathmandu. The Nepal government then formed two committees headed by the foreign and finance secretaries to identify projects under the framework. Nepal identified 36 projects under the BRI framework, but that number was later trimmed down to nine at China’s suggestion.

“We may try to come up with a mandate and work plan for these projects in order to expedite them,” the Nepalese foreign minister said.

“We have several mechanisms at various levels. So there is no need to have a separate high-level mechanism in order to execute projects under the BRI,” the Kathmandu Post quoted the minister as saying.

Though China is yet to officially confirm President Xi’s visit, it is likely to take place after his expected visit to India in the middle of October.

Senior Nepal government officials were quoted by the daily as saying that one of the prime objectives of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit was to lay the ground for President Xi’s visit.

Foreign Minister Wang, who is leading a 15-member delegation, called on Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday afternoon at his official residence. He will call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Tuesday.

Chinese assistance to Nepal falls into three categories – grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans. Chinese financial and technical assistance to Nepal has contributed to Nepal’s development efforts in the areas of infrastructure building, industrialisation process, human resources development, health, education, water resources and sports.

With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative on 12 May 2017, new avenues for bilateral cooperation have opened iup between Nepal and China. The MoU is aimed at promoting cooperation on policy exchanges, infrastructure connectivity, trade connectivity, financial integration and connectivity of people.

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