Beijing Accuses Washington of Wielding 'Coercive Diplomacy' as Protests Rattle Nepal Over US 'Gift'

© AP Photo / Niranjan ShresthaA Nepalese man holds Chinese and Nepalese flags as he waits to welcome Chinese president Xi Jinping in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, Oct 12, 2019.
A Nepalese man holds Chinese and Nepalese flags as he waits to welcome Chinese president Xi Jinping in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, Oct 12, 2019.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.02.2022
A US government-backed aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), signed a $500 million grant assistance compact in 2017 with Nepal. However, detractors say the funds come with conditions that undermine Nepal's sovereignty.
China has accused the US of pursuing "coercive diplomacy" in the Himalayan nation amid protests and bickering within Nepal's governing coalition.
Hua Chunying, assistant minister of foreign affairs, questioned the US approach of setting a deadline for Nepal to pass $500 million grant assistance under the Millennium Challenge Corporation from parliament.

"US gave Nepal an ultimatum. Should a gift be delivered by an ultimatum? Coercive diplomacy", Hua Chunying said on Wednesday.

Last week, the US Embassy in Kathmandu said the $500 million infrastructure grant programme under the MCC is a "gift" to the Himalayan nation at the request of the Nepali government and people.
As per media reports, the US has urged Nepal's Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to ratify the agreement by the end of this month.

"Whether Nepali leaders ratify MCC is a decision for Nepal to make, as a sovereign democratic nation, and Nepal's decision alone", the US Embassy said.

The US has also intensified interactions with political leaders in Kathmandu ahead of discussions and voting on the MCC-Nepal Compact in parliament later this week.
On Tuesday, Ambassador Randy Berry met with former prime minister and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) chair, K.P. Sharma Oli.
Soldiers stand at attention as the national flag is lowered as part of a daily ceremony at the Galle Face Green promenade in Colombo on May 17, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.12.2020
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The Sher Bahadur Deuba government tabled the compact in parliament on Sunday despite massive protests in Kathmandu. Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters.
Maoist chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Unified Socialist chair Madhav Nepal, and Janata Samajbadi Party chair Upendra Yadav—three crucial partners of the Deuba government—have already stated their apprehensions against the compact and will vote against ratification of it.
The coalition partners claim the MCC is part of Washington's Indo-Pacific Strategy and could be used by the US government to deploy its soldiers in Nepal.
Sri Lanka rejected the MCC project last year, as people believed the aid would compromise the nation's sovereignty and national security.
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