Foreign minister Shrestha leaving for China next week on a weeklong visit

Himal Press 22 Mar 2024
Foreign minister Shrestha leaving for China next week on a weeklong visit Narayan Kaji Shrestha (File Photo)

KATHMANDU: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, is set to embark on a week-long visit to China early next week.

The Chinese foreign ministry announced Shrestha’s week-long visit to China on Friday. “At the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha will pay an official visit to China from March 25 to April 1,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian announced during his regular press briefing in Beijing on Friday.

However, Nepal’s Foreign Ministry has not clarified the nature of the visit or the reasons behind such an extended trip.

According to sources close to Minister Shrestha, the foreign minister will also visit the Kailash Mansarovar region in Tibet after concluding his political engagements.

Shrestha had suffered a mild heart attack during his visit to China as the home minister last year. He stayed in China for some time for treatment and underwent further treatment at Shahid Gangalal National Heart Center in Kathmandu. Chinese doctors are likely to conduct further check-ups on his current health condition.

Although China is organizing the Boao Forum in Hainan Province from March 26 to 29, Shrestha will not attend the forum. While the Chinese government used to invite heads of government to this forum in the past, this time it has invited businessmen and experts from various international organizations for panel discussions.

Shrestha will instead hold official talks with his counterpart Wang. He will raise issues such as the lack of budget for projects initiated under Chinese assistance, according to foreign ministry sources. Since the agreements and commitments made during the Chinese President’s visit to Nepal and Nepal’s first President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav’s visit to China have not been implemented, Shrestha will raise this issue with his counterpart.

Likewise, Shrestha will also hold discussions to clarify certain issues related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Amid concerns that Nepal is caught in a geopolitical quagmire, the foreign minister needs to have a clear discussion with China and reassure Beijing that Nepal’s land will not be used against any country. Similarly, he needs to seek a response from Chinese officials on why Beijing didn’t respond to Nepal’s diplomatic note when the northern neighbor allowed India to expand border trade in the Lipu Lek area, which is also claimed by Nepal. Additionally, he needs to inform Chinese officials that the dam being built on the Karnali River on Chinese territory could affect the daily lives of those living downstream in Nepal.

Published On: 22 Mar 2024


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