Reposted from The Himalayan Times
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha today held comprehensive talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
The two leaders discussed a wide range of bilateral issues, including Chinese investment in West Seti hydropower project, BIPPA, construction of Pokhara airport and East-West High Hill Road.
They also discussed regional and global issues, including reforms of the United Nations, better cooperation of SAARC and China’s recent dispute with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands.
Shrestha told THT the meeting with the Chinese foreign minister was “comprehensive and productive” in reviewing the entire ga-mut of bilateral ties.
“Particularly, discussions were held on five areas including investment, trade, tourism, infrastructural development and security.”
The Chinese side inquired about the progress made on the draft of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), which China had forwarded twice to Nepal in 2011 and early this year to which the Nepali side apprised that the content of the BIPPA was under “internal consultation”.
Immediately after Nepal signed the BIPPA with India in last October, China had also proposed Nepal for a similar agreement, but seeking more ownership pattern and investment protection measures.
According to DPM, he told the Chinese side that Nepal would like to follow the Chinese model of attracting foreign capital in a way of protecting and maintaining national ownership and self reliance. Responding to this, his Chinese counterpart said that it would have no problem to follow the investment modality in Nepal what it has been following with other foreign investors.
The meeting was convened for an hour followed by a luncheon. In the meeting, both sides agreed to “renegotiate” the technical aspects of China’s investment in building an international airport in Pokhara.
China has already bid for the project, but now both sides have realised that some “revisions” are needed in an earlier MoU to this effect. “We have agreed to renegotiate the technical aspects of the earlier agreement,” Shrestha told THT.
The two foreign ministers also agreed for the construction of the 750 MW West Seti project. Nepali side has also proposed for China’s soft loan or grant in building an ambitious East-West High Hill Road.
The two neighbours also reiterated smooth and early implementation of the agreements signed during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Nepal in January, including establishing a bilateral high level mechanism at the Foreign Minister’ level.
On political front, Yang underscored for early conclusion of peace process and constitutional framing in Nepal. He said China pla-ces high regards for Nepal’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.
DPM Shrestha reciprocated the Chinese sentiments by reiterating Nepal’s commitment to One China policy and its “zero tolerance” on activities against China from its soil.
Shrestha is also scheduled to meet Zhou Yong-kang, member of Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, tomorrow morning. Later in the afternoon, he will leave Beijing for Nepal.
Bhattarai’s visit on the cards
BEIJING: Deputy Prime Minister Shrestha invited Chinese FM Yang to visit Nepal and urged his counterpart Jiechi to make necessary arrangement for an early visit of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to Beijing.
Shrestha made the request during their bilateral meeting, a top source revealed to THT. Yang accepted the invite and said he would plan his visit to Nepal at a convenient time. PM Bhattarai has an invitation due from China, where he wants to embark “any time soon”. “We believe China is arranging an official visit of our prime minister at its convenient time,” the source quoted DPM Shrestha as telling to FM Yang. In the afternoon, the DPM interacted with Chinese business leaders and urged them to invest in Nepal’s infrastructure development sectors, especially on hydro power generation, building roads, airports and tourism sectors.
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