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Is Xi coming?

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016
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Will Chinese President Xi Jinping visit Nepal this year? Ever since then-Prime Minister KP Oli’s visit to Beijing in March, there has been much speculation but neither Kathmandu nor Beijing has confirmed it.

The National News Agency of Nepal, RSS, on Tuesday claimed that a delegation of Chinese experts informed Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal about President Xi’s likely visit to Kathmandu in October this year. However, a note posted on Twitter by Dahal does not confirm it.

China does not usually discuss its Presidential visits until jointly confirmed by its Foreign Affairs Ministry and the government of the host country. In 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao postponed his visit to Kathmandu after the then-Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai had unilaterally confirmed it.

Prime Minister Dahal seems to have learnt a lesson from his ex-comrade’s mistake. In the Twitter note about his meeting with the delegation of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), Dahal just stated that ‘Nepal is keen to welcome Chinese President Xi in Kathmandu’.

Former Prime Minister Oli, whom Dahal succeeded last month, had officially invited the Chinese president to Nepal. In what has been seen as a series of preparatory meetings for Xi’s visit, many top Chinese officials have visited Kathmandu since Oli’s return from Beijing.

After Oli’s resignation, his party UML claimed that the regime change in Kathmandu will lead to the cancellation of Xi’s visit. But Dahal has claimed that ‘China is much happier with my government’.

During the meeting with the CICIR, Dahal said that his government wants to maintain sustainable relations with China and simultaneously maintaining strong ties with India. The visiting Chinese delegation also expressed that China wants to establish a positive and longterm relationship with the incumbent government.

 

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