PM'S UN AND CHINA VISITS: A Diplomatic Crucible

The forthcoming attendance of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda at the United Nations General Assembly and the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, followed by his visit to China, carries immense diplomatic significance for Nepal

Sept. 7, 2023, 12:50 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 17, No. 04, September.08,2023 (Bhadra,22. 2080) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

Despite leading a coalition government with the Nepali Congress, the largest party in the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Prachanda's upcoming attendance at the UN meeting and visit to China hold significant implications.

Prachanda will be the first prime minister in the past four years to address the United Nations General Assembly and embark on an official visit to the People's Republic of China. His attendance at the UN General Assembly offers critical assistance to less powerful countries, such as Nepal.

At the 2022 United Nations General Assembly, Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal led the Nepali delegation and delivered a speech on behalf of the prime minister and foreign minister, who were unavailable due to national elections. Previously, Foreign Ministers Dr. Narayan Khadka and Pradip Gyawali had represented Nepal at the UNGA.

According to a recent announcement, Prime Minister Prachanda is scheduled to embark on a ten-day official tour to the United States and China starting on September 16. He will initially travel to the United States to attend the 78th United Nations General Assembly, which is slated to take place in New York from September 18 to September 26.

In addition to leading the Nepalese delegation to the Asian Games in Beijing, the Prime Minister is set to participate in high-level political meetings in China. Reports from the Prime Minister's close aides suggest that he will hold discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials. The focus will be on road construction and cross-border transmission connections. The Prime Minister is expected to return to Kathmandu on September 25 after his ten-day visit to the United States and China.

Prime Minister Prachanda was elected in December of the previous year. In June, the 68-year-old leader of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Center (CPN-MC) went on his first foreign trip since assuming office for the third time. The specific date of his journey to China, however, has not been announced yet.

The opening ceremony for the 2023 Asian Games is scheduled to take place in Hangzhou, China, during the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Prime Minister Prachanda has been invited to visit China and has expressed eagerness to attend the opening ceremony.

Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are making preparations for the Prime Minister to participate in both the opening session of the UNGA and the Asian Games Tournament. The Prime Minister has been allocated time during the UNGA to deliver his speech.

However, organizing transportation for the Prime Minister's trips to both New York and China poses a logistical challenge as Nepal lacks the necessary infrastructure for such travel.

The United Nations General Assembly is set to convene on September 20th, and prior to that, a significant UN body will host the SDG Summit. Prime Minister Prachanda has prioritized his visit to New York, where heads of state and government will be present for the SDG Summit.

As the dates for the United Nations General Assembly and visits to China approach, Prime Minister Dahal and President Paudel met on September 4 at Shital Niwas to discuss the situation. Prime Minister Dahal's Secretariat announced that he informed President Paudel about his upcoming trips to the United States and China, along with recent political developments. This meeting followed a previous one between the two leaders on August 10.

Senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affair are currently preparing for this crucial high-level visit under the leadership of Minister NP Saud and Foreign Secretary Paudyal.

Nepal's recently appointed Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Lok Bahadur Thapa, presented his credentials to the UN Secretary-General and is making other arrangements in New York.

Secretary Paudyal, well-known for his diplomatic expertise and experience, will join in providing essential support to Prime Minister Dahal and his delegation during the visit.

It should be noted that Prime Minister Prachanda previously faced a difficult situation when he relinquished power in embarrassing circumstances while attending the Olympics in Beijing. The effect of his appearance at the opening ceremony of the Asian Games on his political position has yet to be determined.

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