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China’s message

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
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Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal talks to journalists upon his arrival at the Kathmandu airport from China on Wednesday. Photo: RSS

From the Nepali Press

Editorial in Annapurna Post, 29 March

Pushpa Kamal Dahal visited India soon after becoming Prime Minister, but his visit to China was delayed for various reasons. As a result, he was dubbed ‘pro-India’ by the Chinese media. Dahal received a lot of support from India during the war waged by his Maoist party, and he also invited New Delhi’s mediation in Nepal’s internal affairs. So it was not hard to understand the Chinese media’s assessment, especially when Dahal wasn’t making time to travel to Beijing although he had already visited New Delhi.

The Prime Minister finally visited Beijing and met Chinese President Xi Jinping this week. Xi apparently told Dahal to build trust between Nepal and China at the political level, and implement the agreements signed between the two countries. He was hinting that Dahal was indifferent to implementing the trade and transit treaty signed by the two countries during his predecessor KP Oli’s visit to Beijing last year.

Dahal’s willingness to implement the deal with China is being questioned even in Nepal. Xi knows that people’s faith in the Prime Minister and other leaders is eroding, and the only way for them to regain the trust is to do what they say.

Kathmandu and Beijing have not signed a deal during Dahal’s visit, but they have reached an understanding on some key issues: Nepal will join China’s Road and Belt initiative, extend the Tibet railway to the Rasuwagadi border and then down to Lumbini, and reopen the earthquake-damaged Kodari highway. This should not be seen by India as a case of Nepal and China ganging up against it. Nepal must assure India that the collaboration is not anti-Indian.

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