Beijing/Kathmandu, June 13 (IANS) Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Oli will pay a five-day official visit to China from June 19, his second trip to a foreign country after India since taking power in the Himalayan nation.
Oli, who is considered pro-Beijing, has been invited by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang. He will hold talks with him and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“China and Nepal are comprehensive and cooperative partners and enjoy the friendship of generations. Their ties have been accelerating with a sound momentum,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in Beijing on Wednesday.
This is Oli’s first official visit to China after returning to power in February. He will also visit Lhasa, the capital of Tibet where he will meet the provincial leaders.
“The two countries have been supporting each other on issues of core interests. Our mutually beneficial cooperation has been accelerating on all fronts. As a first visit by Oli after Nepal finished its political transformation, it will offer important opportunities to two sides to make plans for further development of bilateral ties,” Geng said.
“China looks forward to deepening its political cooperation with Nepal under the Belt and Road initiative and deepening cooperation in political, economic and building infrastructure in the aftermath of the earthquake,” he added.
This is Oli’s second China visit after 2016. Several agreements and MoUs on connectivity, brining Chinese rail up to Kathmandu from China border, cross border transmission line, energy, tourism, opening more border points with China using the Tibetan highway and construction of petroleum reservoirs among others will be signed.
The focus of his visit would be on implementation of past agreements including Trade Transit Protocol with China. Oli will also address the Nepal-China Business Forum and think tanks in Beijing.
The entourage of the Nepali leader will include Home Affairs Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa “Badal”, Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun “Ananta”, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth and Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister Bishnu Rimal among others.
During Oli’s first tenure in 2015, Kathmandu’s ties with its conventional ally New Delhi took a beating over the framing of new Constitution, which led to a blockade of the border with India.
Oli blamed India for the blockade, accusing it of interfering in Nepal’s domestic politics. Since then, he is considered pro-Beijing after he signed a flurry of projects with the country.
Nepal has approved China’s Belt and Road project and receives its largest foreign aid from Beijing.