When Nepal celebrated its ninth Republic Day this week, only two countries felicitated the government in Kathmandu. The Nepali media reported the message sent by one country, but the other country’s message was not made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The country whose message to Nepal was made public was none other than the People’s Republic of China, but the other was not India. Neither was it the US or the UK. The countries with whom Nepal has always maintained diplomatic relations did not bother to congratulate the Nepali people on 28 May – the day when Nepal officially turned from a monarchy to a republic in 2008.
The second country to congratulate Nepal on 28 May was the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Although the Nepali media did not cover North Korea’s message, the official North Korean news agency KCNA published brief news about it:
Greetings to Nepalese President
Pyongyang, May 28 (KCNA) — Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK, Saturday sent a message of greeting to Bidhya Devi Bhandari, president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, on the occasion of its national day.
There could be three reasons why North Korea’s Republic Day message to Nepal was not made public in Kathmandu.
First, Republic Day is not mentioned in the message, which says ‘national day’. Second, it is against protocol because it was not the North Korean President Kim Jong-un but the North Korean Assembly President Kim Yong Nam who sent the message to Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari. Third, Nepal probably does not want to celebrate its relations with North Korea, which has been the target of international sanctions for its nuclear weapons program.