China wants Nepal-India relations to grow: Wen

Photo: Republica
Photo: Republica

Amid speculations of growing Chinese influence in Nepal, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, during his short official visit to Nepal today, encouraged the continuation of Nepal’s traditional and cordial relations with India.

A guest at the luncheon that Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai had hosted in Premier Wen’s honour at Singha Durbar quoted the Chinese leader as saying that Beijing wishes to see the “continuation of Nepal’s warm and friendly ties with India”, pointing that relations between China and India are also deepening.

Top leaders of major parties political parties — Pushpa Kamal Dahal of the UCPN-Maoist, Sushil Koirala of the Nepali Congress, Jhala Nath Khanal of the CPN-UML and Mahantha Thakur of the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party — Speaker Subas Nembang were among those present at the luncheon.

“Nepal should have no hesitation in maintaining relations with any other countries in its own way and China will fully encourage that,” the source quoted Wen.

Talking to this daily later, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha and PM’s aide Biswodip Pandey had held this position during talks with PM and political leaders.

Leading a brood of 11 ministers, including foreign, commerce and energy ministers, Wen had touched down at the Tribhuvan International Airport on an official visit at 11.45 am. After receiving a 19-gun salute from the Nepali Army, Wen held talks with PM Bhattarai. Issues of bilateral concern figured in the delegation-level talks that followed.

“Nepal reiterated that there is only one China in the world. Both Taiwan and Tibet are integral parts of the Chinese territory,” a joint communiqué issued later said. “Nepal firmly supports China’s efforts to uphold state sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity, and does not allow any forces to use its territory for any anti-China or separatist activities.”

Appreciating Nepal’s one-China policy, Wen said his country is keenly following political developments in Nepal and wants it to conclude the peace process and promulgate a permanent constitution at the soonest with its own efforts.

Bhattarai said Nepal needs Chinese assistance for socioeconomic transformation through various development projects after the completion of transition. Jiabao reacted positively.

During the luncheon, top leaders of all parties apprised China of their commitment to an early conclusion of peace and constitution-making processes on the basis of consensus. The parties, according to Shrestha, made it clear that all political parties in Nepal take Tibet as an integral part of China.

The prime ministerial talks, delegation-level talks, signing of as many as eight bilateral agreements and the luncheon all took place at the Prime Minister’s Office in Singha Durbar in a space of three hours.

Wen also paid a courtesy call on President Dr Ram Baran Yadav at Shital Niwas before leaving for Qatar on a six-day official tour of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE at 4 pm.

After Wen’s departure, DPM Shrestha held a press meet at the VVIP lounge of the TIA, where he apologised to the media for the inconveniences they faced in gathering information about the closely-guarded visit.

Shrestha expressed hope that the visit will take Nepal-China relations to new heights.

Source: The Himalayan Times

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