Nepali Times
When Wen?

Some things become more newsworthy when they don't happen than when they do. That seems to be true for the postponement of Chinese premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Nepal, which was apparently scheduled for next week.

Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha tried to fudge it on Tuesday by saying the dates had never been fixed. The Chinese side played down the cancellation, saying Premier Wen had other plans and that a new date would soon be announced.

The visit, and its cancellation at the last moment, has set off intense speculation about Nepal once more being squeezed by a shift in geopolitical tectonics in the region. There has been a more aggressive US posture following the APEC conclave in Honolulu and the ASEAN Summit in Bali in November. US President Barack Obama's commitment at both meetings that America would "remain engaged" in the Pacific in the 21st century have been seen by many as a response to China's growing economic and military clout. Obama's decision to upgrade US troop presence in Australia and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's reassurances of military ties with the Philippines must have set alarm bells ringing in Beijing.

But even more worrying for China must have been Burma's 'defection' last month after four decades of being a loyal Chinese ally. The first indication that Rangoon was going through a dramatic transformation of its domestic polity and international orientation came with President Thein Sein's abrupt and unilateral cancellation in September of the $3.6 billion Myitsone dam that the Chinese were building on a tributary of the Irrawady. Since then Burma is purposefully opening up, allowing  Clinton to meet Aung San Suu Kyi while the British Foreign Secretary William Hague will be visiting Naypyidaw next month.

All this must have come as a shock to China, which had lined up Burma as a strategic corridor to the Indian Ocean as an alternative to the Lombok and Malacca Straits which serve as vulnerable bottlenecks for its oil, mineral supplies and exports. When Chinese leaders look at a map of the mainland and see Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Burma, India and Kyrgyzstan, they must have a feeling of being encircled.

Nepal must be sufficiently important in China's strategic perception to warrant the planned visit by Premier Wen, a trip in which he was also going to attend a conference on the Mekong in Rangoon.

However, it would be stretching the point too thin to be predicting a Sino-Indian 'cold war' over Nepal. China is now India's biggest trading partner, the two countries have deliberately kept their border disputes in deep freeze. The
last thing they want is for Nepal to flare up and seriously destabilise the Himalayan rimland.

There is a convergence of interests between Beijing and New Delhi over Nepal: both want the politics to be more stable and predictable.

Premier Wen's main objective in Kathmandu would have been to reassert his country's misgivings about Nepal being used as a springboard for free Tibet activities. The Chinese are wary of American and European support for the Tibetan cause, and the pressure they bring to bear on Nepal to go easy on refugees and protests. The Chinese have become even more sensitive after the recent spate of self-immolation of monks in China, and it must have been fear of a similar burning in Kathmandu during his visit in full glare of the international media that factored into the cancellation of Wen's visit.

We in Nepal have enough problems to sort out without also being a regional flashpoint over Tibet. It would behoove the Americans and Europeans to understand that Nepal can hardly be expected to stand up to China when they are going to Beijing begging for cash to bail out their economy.

China, for its part should realise that Nepal is not the cause but the effect of its crackdowns in Tibet. Addressing the genuine aspirations of the Tibetan people for cultural preservation and autonomy would be a vastly superior strategy than beating and torturing monks and nuns.

Read also:
Justice is peace, RUBEENA MAHATO
War is often only a few miscarriages of justice away

The Fourth Force, ANURAG ACHARYA
Diminishing clout and dipping popularity sparks a blame game among Madhesi parties

Blunder, disaster, gaffe

1. Arthur
"Analysts say" that this sounds just like the Telegraph.

The poll with three choices offered for "who is to blame" perfectly expresses this mentality.

The importance you attach to your own speculation and gossip is quite amazing.

2. Peter S
Well-argued editorial that merges Nepal's geopolitical reality with the pressures from regional and global powers. Actually, Nepal has been balancing it all surprisingly well for a weak, unstable country bordering China. No doubt, it was the embarrassment of having a monk immolate himself live on CNN that was the main reason for the cancellation of the visit no matter what the Chinese ambassador said.

3. Jain
Whoever took that picture of the mouse dog and cat deserves a medal.

4. asok
Pls don't come wen jiabao. we don' t need u here in nepal. 11 monks immolated themselves, many monks  have disappeared. u suppress the press and there is so much censorship of the media. most important u have no human rights in china no freedom of speech. there are so many things people cannot do in China. u r visiting nepal to brainwash our already corrupt leaders and turn our nation into red nepal... we are poor nation yet we have freedom and we want to maintain that freedom.

5. DG
Kukkur -Muso- Biralo ,
Hera her gardaichhan eak tira
 Arkatira Chin - Nepal- Bhatarat hera her gardai chhan
 Kya mileko ,kya ramro.
 Jhamke guleli
Resam firiri.

6. Tashi Lama
Very good picture of cat, mouse and dog. As we can see that cat is excited to find this small mouse, inside the cat's paws are his sharp claws hidden under, however for the dog it is different, for the dog this small mouse is not a meal of the day, so the dog uses it's sniffing power to check what this little creature is up to, now the life of this small mouse remains until watchful eye of the dog remains, once the dog leaves, it is the cat that will take full advantage to play and kill this small mouse painfully. So who is to blame for the death of mouse? none other then the mouse itself appearing on the wrong ground at wrong time.

In between China and India, Nepal is small like mouse, but everyone has it's own rightful place and status, regardless of it's size and shape. Sovereignty is what it matters most for the mouse in his rightful place. It would be proper to live wisely maintaining the good economy, and always remain alert to live within once reach. Among these three creatures, mouse actually is the smartest little creature, it is because the mouse only knows how to stock pile food underground for the cold winter. Dogs and cats doesn't know this, they have to depend upon their masters, if not, they have to find it on daily basis to fill their big stomach. Nepal can remain contended and peacefully in between the two by not meddling on either side. However I can assure that China will act like cat if they see the advantage to pounce upon a small mouse, however as India being a biggest democratic country in this world, India will not act like cunning cat, it will surely use it's sniffing check ups and see if the mouse is in danger or not. Wen will come back to Nepal Wen when see the good opportunity to do so, his main agenda is to guide Nepal govt. to suppress Tibetans and his second agenda is to create rift in between Nepal and India relations, and his third mission is to support the Commies in Nepal to remain in power.

At present Wen and his party are busy struggling to cope with their wrong rotten policy, which now smells badly rotten to the majority of Chinese people. Each day, their appears to have new protesters, all these protesters demands freedom and justice from their corrupt regime,  which responsible for too much of corruptions and wrong doings on their poor majority.  I am optimistic that now the days are now numbered for the autocrat regime to fall down, because of their rotten wrong policies of too much of lies, corruption and oppression over the poor and weaker sections of Chinese society.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)