The high-level exchanges between Nepal and China have been cornerstone in deepening bilateral bond and practical cooperation between the two close neighbours. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hangzhou, the capital city of east China’s Zhejiang Province, on Saturday gives new impetus and dynamism to Nepal-China relations. The two leaders first held one-on-one meeting and then sat for a delegation level meeting between the two nations. The high-level dialogue remains significant in further enhancing the strategic partnership between the two nations. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1955, Nepal-China ties have been marked by equality, harmonious coexistence and ever-lasting friendship. The peaceful coexistence between the countries of different size in geography, economy and demography sets a model of good neighbourliness.
Prachanda and Xi had an open and clear discussion on a range of matters of mutual interest. It is necessary for the two sides to candidly deliberate over the implementation of a raft of deals, including the implementation of Transit and Transportation Agreement and Belt and Road Initiative that the two countries have signed in the past. During Xi’s landmark visit to Nepal in 2019, the two nations inked 18 memorandums of understanding and two letters of exchange. Some of them are about cross-border railway, border management, governance capacity building, investment and economic cooperation, disaster management and legal assistance for crime control, among others. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and political instability hindered the implementation of these deals. It is imperative for the two nations to show political understanding and resolve to enforce these accords to strengthen the bilateral relations at the government-to-government and people-to-people levels.
Nepal is situated in a sensitive geo-strategic location, which entails both advantage and security related sensitivities. Nepal can benefit from the economic support from global and regional powers. However, it must tread cautiously to deal with its neighbours and friendly nations. Failure to maintain non-aligned policy can have negative implications for the country’s foreign policy and internal stability. Therefore, it is prudent for it to understand and address the security sensitivity of immediate neighbours. Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Prachanda and President Xi concurred to demonstrate a deeper understanding of each other's interests and sensitivities, while extending cooperation among all regional powers for ensuring regional stability, peace, and development. The Prime Minister reiterated that Nepal's commitment to One-China policy had been affirmed through its actions as it maintained an independent and non-aligned foreign policy and wouldn’t incline to engage in any military strategic initiatives under any specific label or alliance.
Meanwhile, President Xi stated that China attached great importance to China-Nepal relations and was willing to strengthen the docking of development strategies with Nepal to promote continuous progress of the bilateral relations. Despite China’s readiness to support Nepal for economic cooperation and social development, the latter has been unable to reap benefit from the second largest economy that boasts of sophisticated technology, experience of building mega infrastructure, capital, competent human resources and management expertise. BRI holds potential to develop vital infrastructures linking the two nations. For this, they have to jointly come up with proper investment modality and build viable projects. PM Prachanda's visit to China will be instrumental in creating an environment conducive to implementing the past agreements, thereby taking the bilateral ties to a new height.