Xi Jinping – CHINESE PRESIDENT’S VISIT TO NEPAL: HIGH OFFICIAL VISIT TO NEPAL AFTER 23 YEARS
Xi Jinping, Chinese politician who has served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) since 2012, also president of China since 2013. Kathmandu Valley is now going under reconstruction and maintenance with different floral gardens, foot path maintenance’s and decorations around city during peak occasion of Dashain. More than 1.5 million people had left Kathmandu Valley to celebrate festival with their families. Kathmandu Valley is empty, but we can notice people are busy decorating and maintaining places around Kathmandu Valley to welcome honorable President of China. This is the first visit by Chinese President to Nepal in 23 years and comes amid concerns over the US’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
Preparations for visit
Workers were busy repairing potholes on streets of Kathmandu Valley, while others were busy with maintenance of traffic lights and painting road signs and some planting bushes & flowers- all for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s forthcoming official state visit to Nepal. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had returned home on September 11, 2019 completing their visit to Nepal. The visit remained significant as it decided to expedite projects to be funded by China and it also ensured the much-awaited visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal on October 13. This visit seems to be a strategic move to maintain power balance in the Asia-Pacific continent.
Chinese President’s high-level official visit are integral part of bilateral and international relations and foreign affairs. Exchanges of high-level visits are considered sovereign and fruitful to promote relations. The historic and bilateral relations between two nations have evolved since the days of Nepali monk and scholar Buddhabhadra on early the 5th century, Bhrikuti on 7th century and sculpture Araniko around 13th century and many more. Nepal and China have engaged on formal diplomatic relations on 1955; from onwards these two countries has marked their friendliness, understanding mutual coordination, cooperation and respect for each other’s sensitivities.
OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN BY NEPAL AFTER XI JINPING VISIT
Having ages of harmonious relations, the official visit of Honorable Chinese President Xi Jinping of the Republic of China to Nepal will exchange a long tradition of exchanging high-level visits on a regular basis which have been contributing to strengthening and consolidating bilateral relationships. On this visit also the bilateral relation and friendship of two nations is expected to grow deeper as it used to be. Beside exchange of visits, there are other bilateral mechanisms. Which include Nepal-China Inter-Governmental Economic and Trade Committee, Nepal-China Joint Committee on Agriculture Cooperation, Nepal-China’s Tibet Trade Facilitation Committee (NTTFC), Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters, Energy Cooperation Mechanism, Border Law Enforcement Cooperation and so on. China and Nepal hold economic cooperation since ages and this high-level official visit is expected to make Nepal-China relations stronger.
Chinese assistance to Nepal falls into three categories: Grants (aid gratis), interest free loans and concessional loans. The Chinese financial and technical assistance to Nepal has greatly contributed to Nepal’s development efforts. Nepal is founding member of AIIB and holds the status of Dialogue Partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Both countries are the members of Asia Cooperation Dialogue as well as China is the observer of SAARC.In the areas of infrastructure building, industrialization process, human resources development, health, water resources, sports, education and the like. China is the second largest trading partner of Nepal and trade; tourism and investment are three pillars of Nepalese economy with Chinese trading partnership.
This official visit of xi jinping aims at promoting cooperation on policy exchanges, infrastructures connectivity, trade connectivity, financial integrations and connectivity of people. This official visit also promotes mutually beneficial cooperation between Nepal and China in various fields such as technology, environment, economy, culture and foreign relations.
Some of the major on-going projects under Chinese assistance in Nepal are as:
- Food/Material Assistance in Northern 15 bordering districts.
- Larcha (Tatopani) and Timure (Rasuwagadi) Frontier Inspection Station Project.
- Upgradation of Civil Service Hospital.
- Upgradation of Kodari Highway and restoration of bordering bridge at Kodari and Rasuwagadi.
- Pokhara International Regional Airport.
- Kathmandu Ring Road Improvement Project.
- Upper Trishuli Hydropower Project-Power station and Transmission Line Projects.
- Upgradation of Syaprubensi- Rasuwagadi Road.
These are on-going projects assisted by China in these present days. Chinese President Xi’s visit to Nepal also comes at a time when there are mounting concerns in China regarding the growing military, economic and political influence of India and the US. China’s influence in Nepal has increased significantly after India’s economic blockade of Nepal in 2015. During XI’s visit to Nepal, the two nations are expected to sign some projects under the Belt. And Road Initiative (BRI), including an agreement on a feasibility study of the proposed Kathmandu-Keyrung railway line and constructions. Nepal has joined the China-led BRI in 2017 May after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the BRI’s framework. But Nepal need to do intensive homework on how to benefit from China’s so-called new corridor project i.e. BRI and make a clear stance as regards with Indo-Pacific Strategy.
Xi Jinping’s visit comes at a time when the contest between the US’s Indo-Pacific Strategy and China’s Belt and Road Initiative is rolling out in Nepal. Nepal should do proper homework to reap benefits from such high-level visits from strategic and economic powerhouse of the world. It could rather be a strategic move to maintain power balance in the Asia-Pacific continent. Government of Nepal should invite investment from foreign countries through emerging economics like China and India. Nepal should have a clear-cut foreign policy and be concerned when it comes to handling diplomatic relations and affairs.
Benefits of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Visit to Nepal
Nepal can learn and reap benefits from this official visit from honorable Chinese President Xi Jinping of the Republic of China. Nepal can learn Xi’s moves and instances like adopting new science-based ideas for “Innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development”, “improving people’s livelihood and well-being is the primary goal of development”, strengthen national security, energy conservation and environmental protection policies & contribute to global ecological safety.
- Investment on rail roads and infrastructure development of rail ways is best opportunity for Nepal.
- Investment on hydro-power projects will be more advantageous investments.
- Upgradation of roads will ease construction opportunities for Nepal.
- Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is strategic opportunity for Nepal to act as a new corridor in Asia Pacific. This will open foreign investments opportunities.
- Nepal can create investment opportunities on technology, environment, economy, culture and construction & developments.
- Export related business can be feasible investments from Nepal. As, Nepal has made Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters. Also, Agreement on Preventing Theft, Clandestine Excavation and Illicit Export Import of Cultural Property.
- This visit can strengthen areas of connectivity, trade and investment, tourism, energy and natural resources and environment. So new opportunities on investment on these can be strengthened.
Beside these opportunities, Nepal can reap many opportunities. Either from trade, commerce and investment or multilateral strategic relations between these nations. Xi’s upcoming trips will seek to present Beijing as a regional. And global leader by emphasizing the importance of economic cooperation rather than focusing on areas of contention. Hence, Nepal needs to do intensive homework to invite investment from foreign countries. Through emerging economics and balance strategic relations with neighboring nations.