By Our Reporter
The Chinese leaders who have shown their readiness to invest in Nepal through One Road One Belt initiatives look suspicious about the leaders of the ruling parties in Nepal.
When the government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba has been reluctant in forwarding documents required to implement the OBOR initiative, the Chinese leaders have become more suspicious about the Nepali leaders.
Interestingly, Chinese suspicions have become more apparent when Deuba became prime minister of Nepal, because Deuba has been backed by India and India has strongly opposed the OBOR initiatives of China.
Recently Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs paid a six-day visit to China and inked some agreements. Still, he was unable to make the Chinese side happy.
During his visit, China expressed her readiness to speed up the process to construct the cross-border railway between Nepal and China by carrying out project survey, design and feasibility study at the earliest under the Belt and Road framework.
This new understanding was reached during a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mahara and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last week.
This was the first time that China formally put forward a proposal about China-Nepal-India economic corridor.
During his meetings with the Chinese officials, Mahara highlighted that top leaders of all political parties in Nepal were one with regard to further strengthening relation with China and that the cross border railway would be treated as national priority project.
At a joint press conference following the delegation level bilateral meeting between DPM and FM Mahara and his Chinese counterpart Wang at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, both of them told journalists that the two countries had agreed to expedite cross border railway construction to translate the ‘strategic vision of the leaders of the countries’ into action.
Issue of cross-border railway construction also featured prominently during DPM Mahara’s courtesy call on to Chinese Premier Li and his meeting with State Councilor Yang.
The other three major areas of cooperation under the BRI framework included repair and resumption of cross border highways such as the Araniko Highway and Rasuwagadhi-Kathmandu highway, deepening trade and investment between the two countries and post-disaster reconstruction in Nepal.
China has recently termed the Nepal-China border point at Rasuwagadhi/Kerung as an international border point and during Chinese vice-premier Wang Yang’s visit to Nepal this August China an agreement was signed to upgrade Rasuwagadhi-Kathmandu highway with Chinese grant assistance.
The two sides also agreed to complete the joint feasibility study of the China-Nepal Free Trade Agreement by the end of the year.
Two MoUs, one on energy cooperation and the other on conducting successfully the Nepal Tourism Promotion Year 2017 in China were also signed between the two countries during Mahara’s visit.
However, the Chinese leaders have not overcome the suspicions they have about the motives of Nepali leaders, especially due to the delay they have made in implementing the OBOR.
Mahara got a clear message that without any special breakthrough in bilateral relations, President Xi Jinping will not visit Nepal in the near future.