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China reaches out to Prachanda, assures support to new govt

world Updated: Jul 29, 2016 21:40 IST
Anil Giri
China Nepal relations

Chinese ambassador Wu Chuntai held talks with Prachanda (in picture) and assured him of Beijing’s full cooperation to his government. (AFP)

China on Friday assured full support to Nepal’s new government led by Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, in the wake of speculation in political circles that his regime has the backing of New Delhi.

Chinese ambassador Wu Chuntai held talks with Prachanda, the prime minister-in-waiting, and assured him of Beijing’s full cooperation. Wu said China will fully stand with Nepal’s development efforts and extend cooperation for steps to build a prosperous and stable nation, a statement from Prachanda’s office said.

The Beijing tilt of former premier KP Sharma Oli’s government had angered New Delhi. Experts here believe India played a role in bringing together the Maoists and the opposition Nepali Congress to oust Oli’s regime, but Indian officials have said the country had no role in the developments in Nepal.

Despite this, some in Kathmandu see Prachanda’s comeback as a “political coup” engineered by India and claim the head of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre will toe New Delhi’s line on key issues such as implementing Nepal’s new Constitution and addressing the grievances of Madhesis, the people from the southern plains bordering India.

China wants to engage with Prachanda as it wants to ensure the continuation of deals inked by Oli in March, including a path-breaking transit and transportation agreement aimed at ending Nepal’s dependence on India for third country trade and essential supplies.

The meeting between Prachanda and the Chinese envoy, which came ahead of the formation of the next government, was seen as a move by Beijing to safeguard its interests.

During the meeting, Prachanda informed the envoy about the political situation and the reasons why Oli’s government needed to be removed. Prachanda also told the envoy that agreements signed by Oli were a result of his initial push.

“When I became the first prime minister of the republic of Nepal in 2008, I had pushed all those agreements and deals with China. The Oli government, which the Maoists were also part of, had reached a deal with China because of the results of my continued effort,” Prachanda said.

According to the statement, Prachanda said the new government will carry on the deals, agreements and pacts signed with China by the outgoing government.

“The new government, under my leadership, will focus on implementation of the new Constitution, restoring political stability and peace, reconstruction work (in areas affected by the 2015) earthquake and development,” he said.

Prachanda also told The Kathmandu Post during an interview that his government will certainly take up a proposed visit to Nepal by Chinese President Xi Jinping “with the urgency that it requires”.

Asked if the visit had suffered a setback because of recent political developments, he replied: “The visit was on the cards but was never finalised.”

It is believed Xi may visit Nepal in October while on his way to a BRICS summit in India.