Kathmandu : Nepal and China have signed a six-point agreement under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to increase the countries’ engagements and exchanges on governance, legislative and supervisory practices. Parliament Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota and Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s NPC, signed the agreement at an event held on Monday evening at the Federal Parliament Building in Kathmandu.
According to the agreement, the two sides will exchange information on each other’s legislative, supervisory and governance practices.
Li is in Kathmandu on a four-day official visit at the invitation of Sapkota.
As soon as he landed in Kathmandu leading a 67-member delegation, Sapkota and Li held delegation-level talks followed by the signing of the agreement.
The MoU between the two Parliaments also mentions the BRI, an ambitious project promoted by China.
Nepal and China had signed the BRI in 2017 but no substantive progress has been made in the last five years.
According to the agreement, the two governments would accord priority and facilitate promotion of relationship, mutual benefits and commitments between the two countries, including through the BRI, the fifth point of the MoU read.
During the talks, the two dignitaries while expressing happiness over the excellent state of bilateral relations and cooperation subsisting between Nepal and China, held discussions on different matters of mutual interests, said the Foreign Ministry in Kathmandu.
In the meeting, Sapkota reiterated Nepal’s commitment to ‘One China’ Policy and not to allow any activity against Beijing in Nepali territory.
Li expressed China’s continued support for Nepal’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, the Foreign Ministry added.
Sapkota appreciated the people and the Chinese government for their generous support and cooperation to the Himalayan nation’s development endeavour and expressed hope for an enhanced level of support from Beijing for post-pandemic recovery and other development priorities.
He added that the people and government of Nepal are grateful to the Chinese government for with a substantial amount of medical supplies, equipment and vaccines during the pandemic.
“During the meeting, both sides agreed to further strengthen inter-parliamentary exchanges and cooperation. They also underscored the role of Parliamentary Friendship Group in each other’s parliament in further promoting goodwill and understanding between the two legislatures,” said the Ministry statement.
Li also promised to provide assistance to the Nepali Parliament as per its need and requirement at the institution level.
The two diplomats also exchanged views on the importance of implementing connectivity infrastructures, including under the BRI, the statement said.
On the request of the Nepali delegation, the Chinese side also assured that it will take necessary measures to address the widening trade gaps between the two countries and encourage its entrepreneurs to invest in Nepal, particularly in areas that support the livelihood of the Nepali people.
Similarly, both parties have agreed to strengthen cooperation under the framework of international and regional parliamentary organizations, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union, on matters of common interest.
On Tuesday, the second day of his visit, Li will call on the Chairman of the National Assembly Ganesh Timilsina at the parliament building following meetings with CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of the CPN (Maoist Centre).
Later, Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka will call on Li at Hotel Soaltee. He will then meet Prime Minister Deuba again and discuss the strengthening of bilateral ties between Nepal and China.
On Wednesday, the Chinese delegation will see President Bidya Devi Bhandari and visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The delegation will leave for South Korea after rounding up the Nepal trip on Thursday. Li is the third high-level visit from China after the formation of the incumbent government in July last year.
The 67-member delegation led by Li Zhanshu arrived in Kathmandu at the invitation of Nepal’s Parliament speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota. During his visit, Li Zhanshu is scheduled to hold a meeting with Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Foreign Minister Dr Narayan Khadka. He is also due to hold a meeting with Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari. The visiting Chinese leader will also hold a meeting with the Chairman of Nepal’s National Assembly Ganesh Prasad Timilsina. The visit of Li Zhanshu comes ahead of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in October and the general and provincial elections due to be held in Nepal on November 20. Earlier in August, China had announced a grant assistance of Rs 15 million to invest in various projects in Nepal during country’s foreign minister Narayan Khadka visit to Qingdao, The Kathmandu Post reported. The announcement regarding the grant assistance was made by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.