Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli is to visit China next week in the hope of confirming plans for a China-Nepal Economic Corridor under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiaitve.
The planned corridor would further reduce Nepal’s reliance on India and shift the balance of influence towards China in an area of military importance. Beijing also hopes to soften Indian resistance towards the BRI, either by persuasion or by pressure by creating major infrastructure in the neighborhood.
Oli who will be in China from June 19-24, with meet President Xi Jinping and other leaders, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a media briefing here.
Last weekend, India became the only member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to refuse to endorse the BRI during the SCO meet attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Other members, like Russia, Pakistan and the Central Asian countries, supported it.
Geng said China and Nepal are comprehensive cooperative partners, enjoy generation-to-generation friendship and bilateral ties have been developing with a sound momentum.
Oli will also discuss ways to deepen political and economic cooperation as well as cooperation in infrastructure, post-disaster rebuilding, in cultural fields, and how to further elevate bilateral ties, he said.
This is Oli’s first visit to China after his recent re-election. He visited China during his earlier brief tenure as PM in 2016. He signed agreements to widen China-Nepal ties and sought the expansion of road links through Tibet besides the extension of China’s railway network to Nepal through the Himalayas.
He recently visited India, and this was followed by a high-profile visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal, highlighting steady development in relations between the two countries.