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Nepal foreign minister to visit China

This is the first high-level visit from Nepal to China after the formation of the Oli government.

world Updated: Apr 13, 2018 20:02 IST
Anil Giri
Pradip Gyawali will be in China with a delegation from April 16 to 21 at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
Pradip Gyawali will be in China with a delegation from April 16 to 21 at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.(Courtesy: Nepal Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Nepal’s foreign minister Pradip Gyawali will make an official visit to China about a week after Prime Minister KP Oli’s state visit of India, reflecting Kathmandu’s efforts to balance ties with its two powerful neighbours.

Gyawali will be in China with a delegation from April 16 to 21 at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the foreign ministry announced here on Friday. This is the first high-level visit from Nepal to China after the formation of the Oli government.

At a time when Nepal is under pressure to select projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the signature initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two sides will also discuss high-level exchanges. Nepal has signed on for the BRI but is still struggling to identify projects, leading to China repeatedly expressing its displeasure.

Gyawali’s visit also aims to lay the ground for Oli’s upcoming trip to China. Xi also likely to visit Nepal in the second half of this year. Gyawali will meet Wang on Wednesday. Wang will host a luncheon in honour of Gyawali.

Reviewing the status of China-funded projects in Nepal, expediting projects under BRI and looking for more areas of cooperation will be part of Gyawali’s agenda, according to the foreign ministry.

During his last premiership in 2016, Oli had clinched a landmark transit agreement with China, ending Nepal’s long dependence on India, and allowed Chinese investment in several sectors.

Gywali will also meet other Chinese leaders and address a roundtable meeting of Chinese think tanks. He will also travel to Chengdu in Sichuan province, where he will meet local leaders and address a programme at Sichuan University on Friday.