Senior Chinese official arrives in Kathmandu

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Liu Jianchao, the new head of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) International Liaison Department, arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday at a time when reunification talks are currently underway between major communist parties in Nepal.

Beijing had backed the unity between two communist forces in 2017 that gave the Nepal Communist Nepal a landslide victory in the elections.

The two primary communist parties, CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist Centre), formed the Nepal Communist Party and the nearly two-third majority government in 2018.

But a Supreme Court’s verdict on March 2018 nullified the unity between the two parties and they separated and reorganised the same old party.

Again this time ahead of the proposed November 18 elections, China has sent one of its senior diplomats to Kathmandu in an effort to try to push for a similar kind of unity between the major communist parties like the UML led by former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Maoist Centre whose chief is Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

The six-member Chinese delegation will meet President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka, as well as Oli and Dahal among Communist leaders, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The meeting with Deuba and Khadka will take place on Sunday.

Reportedly, the Chinese are suspicious over the incumbent Deuba-government for tilting with the US and West as it has accepted and ratified the $500 million Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Nepal Compact.

Beijing had strongly objected to Nepal’s decision to ratify the MCC, saying it was an attempt to check Beijing’s rise in Kathmandu.

Later the Deuba government strongly stood in support of Ukraine that also raised suspicion in Beijing.

So far, China has maintained neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Beijing’s worries thickened further after the US proposed the Himalayan nation to sign the State Partnership Program (SPP), which offered various kinds of military and defence support to Nepal Army.

After a huge controversy and uproar, the Nepal government decided not to be part of the SPP, a decision welcomed by Beijing.

Liu’s visit to Nepal is his first trip abroad after taking charge as the head of the CCP’s International Liaison Department in June.

According to the party leaders, discussions between the two sides will also focus on Nepal-China ties, strengthening party-to-party relations, expediting the China-funded projects, among others.

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