Guo Yezhou is also the same CCP official who greeted Pushpa Kamal Dahal (pictured above) when he visited China in September 2018. His appearance in a T-shirt to greet Dahal at Guangzhou airport was seen by many at the time as a snub to Dahal, who was party co-chair and K P Oli had been prime minister for just months.
Just before going to China, Dahal had returned from a visit to New Delhi where he was greeted with the kind of welcome that heads of governments on official state visits get — he had meetings with Prime Minister Modi, and a banquet in his honour.
However, in China a week later, neither President Xi Jinping nor Premier Li Keqiang met Dahal. Instead it was Guo Yezhou in an airport lounge in Guangzhou. For analysts who say every move by China is symbolic, Guo’s attire was taken as a deliberate snub to Dahal.
Even then, things were already turning frosty between Oli and Dahal, and New Delhi had appeared to send a message that Dahal was the PM-in-waiting, whereas Beijing wanted Oli to serve his five-year term and for the NCP to remain united. Dahal used to describe himself at the time as a “co-pilot” in the party and government.
Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqui had tried to patch up the personal rift between Oli and Dahal that has threatened to split the party twice in 2020, however even she seemed to have given up after Oli dissolved the Lower House on 20 December.
She did meet Dahal last week before his faction faction registered a no-confidence motion and claimed the party name and symbol for itself in the Election Commission.
Guo Yezhou’s visit also comes amidst reports in the Indian media that Prime Minister Oli may be visiting New Delhi next week. Nepali officials have neither confirmed nor denied the report.