Railway Connectivity with China Is Nepal’s Priority: Foreign Minister Mahara

Minister Mahara said that he had come up with a common consensus among major political leaders in the government and in the opposition to carry forward railway connectivity as a national priority project.

Sept. 8, 2017, 7:52 a.m.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs called on Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, at Zhongnanhai, Beijing. During the meeting, minister Mahara conveyed the greetings of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to Premier Li.

Stressing on the fact that Nepal and China have been working closely to capitalize the opportunities brought about by the BRI, he expressed his conviction that the initiative would enhance mutual co-operation in the fields of developing cross-border connectivity, building physical infrastructure, promoting trade, tourism, investment and people-to-people relations.

According to a press release issued by Ministry of Foreign Affair, Minister Mahara said that he had come up with a common consensus among major political leaders in the government and in the opposition to carry forward railway connectivity as a national priority project. Both sides agreed to take necessary measures to carry out technical study of the project. Both sides also agreed to continue the exchange of high-level visits between the two countries.

Similarly, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahara also called on Yang Jiechi, State Councilor of the People's Republic of China, at Zhongnanhai, Beijing this afternoon. In the meeting, Mahara said that the Government of Nepal has accorded high importance to the implementation of MoU on BRI signed between the two countries.

He expressed the conviction that being a close neighbor, Nepal’s development needs and aspirations would be prioritized and given due place under the Belt and Road Initiative.  State Councilor Yang said that the two countries should elevate their relations to a new height with a long-term vision and implement projects under the BRI for mutual benefit.

Earlier Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahara held bilateral talks with Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing.

During the talks, the two sides expressed happiness over the excellent state of bilateral relations between Nepal and China, and exchanged views on further expanding co-operation. The two sides agreed to implement the agreements and understandings reached in the past and convene the meetings of established bilateral mechanisms.

Minister Mahara expressed Nepal's strong support to China's Belt and Road Initiative, and said that Nepal stands to benefit from it. He also appreciated China's continued development assistance and support for post-earthquake reconstruction activities.

Minister Mahara expressed his happiness over the up gradation of the Kerung-Rasuwagadhi border point as an international port, and hoped that the Tatopani border point would resume operations soon. A joint Press Conference was held following the bilateral talks. Chinese foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted a luncheon in honor of minister Mahara.

In the evening, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahara attended a reception hosted in his honor by the Embassy of Nepal, Beijing. Ambassador Leela Mani Paudyal delivered a welcome speech, which was followed by the address of minister Mahara.

 In his remarks, Minister Mahara said that Nepal and China have witnessed continuous consolidation of their relations in recent years, and that this visit had helped in strengthening them further. Representatives of Beijing-based think tanks, academia and business community, members of the Nepali Diaspora, friends of Nepal as well as members of the diplomatic community in Beijing attended the function.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahara are on an official visit to the People's Republic of China from 6-11 September, 2017 at the invitation Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China.

Nepal and China signed two Memorandum of Understandings during the visit of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. The first MoU on Energy Co-operation between the Ministry of Energy of the Government of Nepal and the National Energy Administration of the People's Republic of China was initialed at the Embassy of Nepal, Beijing. The MoU was initialed by Sushil K Lamsal, Deputy Chief of Mission/Minister, Embassy of Nepal on behalf of the Ministry of Energy, Government of Nepal and by He Yang, Deputy Director General, on behalf of the National Energy Administration of China.

This understanding will pave the way for expanding co-operation between the two countries in the development of power generation projects and joint investment in power grid including feasibility study in cross-border power grid interconnection, among others.  Similarly, an MoU was signed between the Embassy of Nepal, Beijing and Zhongjingrun Tourism Investment Company Ltd. at the Embassy of Nepal today for undertaking activities to promote Nepal's tourism in China, including Buddhist tourism.

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