Chinese vice premier Wang Yang arrives in Nepal

China’s vice premier Wang Yang has arrived on a four-day visit to Nepal, during which he is expected to discuss the Doklam standoff and push Kathmandu to execute projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

world Updated: Aug 14, 2017 21:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
Nepal-China relations,Chinese vice premier Wang Yang,Belt and Road Initiative
Chinese vice premier Wang Yang (centre) is flanked by Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (right) as they arrive to attend a flag hoisting ceremony in Islamabad on August 14, 2017. (AFP)

China’s vice premier Wang Yang arrived in Nepal on Monday for a four-day official visit against the backdrop of the military standoff between New Delhi and Beijing at Doklam.

Wang flew into Katmandu after attending celebrations marking Pakistan’s Independence Day in Islamabad as the chief guest. He is leading a 21-member delegation that includes senior officials of China’s Communist Party and the foreign ministry.

This is the first high-level visit from China in five years, and also the first visit by a senior Chinese official since the government led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba was formed two months ago.

“The timing of Wang’s visit is important and we will be keenly watching the visit,” said a Nepalese official, who indicated the Chinese side is likely to raise the Doklam issue with Nepal during discussions.

Nepal and India have already agreed to adopt the same position on international issues, as reflected in the joint statement issued after the state visit of former premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” to India last year.

Nepal has maintained a neutral stance on the Doklam issue. Some private organisations in Nepal that are perceived to be close to China have expressed dismay at the country’s stance. They have described the standoff at Doklam as a bilateral matter between China and Bhutan while rejecting any role for India in the issue.

Though both sides have been tight-lipped about the agenda for Wang’s visit, Nepalese officials said he is expected to push Nepal to execute some projects under China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Nepal has already become a member of the initiative but no discussions have been held so far to identify specific projects.

Wang is scheduled to hold delegation-level talks with deputy prime minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar on Tuesday, according to a foreign ministry statement. He will also call on the President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Deuba on Wednesday.

Ahead of these meetings, he will also meet CPN-UML leader KP Oli and the CPN-Maoist Center chairman.

Wang is also scheduled to attend the opening ceremony for the Basantapur Durbar restoration project completed with Chinese aid and visit the National Ayurveda Research and Training Center at Kirtipur on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

First Published: Aug 14, 2017 21:50 IST