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Chinese high official arriving

  

LEKHANATH PANDEY

KATHMANDU: Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi is arriving on a two-day goodwill visit to Nepal on May 18.

Yang, who retired from Foreign Minister in March and was promoted to the post of State Councilor, will be the highest official from northern neighbour to come to Nepal since then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit in January 2012. Then, Yang was accompanying with Premier Jiabao’s six-hour-long official visit.

Preparation for next Constituent Assembly elections, growing anti-Tibet activities, and Chinese investment in Nepal’s infrastructure sector, including upgaradation of the Ring Road, are among his priority agenda, sources privy to his visit said.

A Tibetan monk Drupchen Tsering had set himself on fire in Kathmandu on February 13. The Chinese side had taken its exception to the incident, the first of its kind in Nepali territory, and wanted to know how it happened. Chinse Ambassador to Nepal, Yang Houlan, had lodged a protest letter against the incident to the government of Nepal.

During the State Councilor’s visit, Nepali side is expected to take up the issue of Chinese assistance for expansion and upgradation of Ring Road. China had assured financial support for upgradation of the nine-kilometre Kalinki-Koteshwor section of the Ring Road.

“Nepal is likely to urge China to upgrade the existing Ring Road, instead of building the Outer Ring Road,” an official told THT. Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a source at the Chinese Embassy confirmed that Yang is visiting Nepal on May 18-19 but didn’t share the agenda in detail.

His meeting with President Ram Baran Yadav, chairman of the interim election council Khil Raj Regmi and Foreign and Home Minister Madhav Ghimire have been confirmed. He is also to meet top leaders of major political parties, including UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chiar Jhala Nath Khanal and CPN-Maoist Chair Mohan Baidhya separately.

In July, Baidhya had embarked on a 10-day visit of China. Upon his return, he had said China was against demarcating federal states in Nepal based on ethnic lines.

Yang’s visit is taking place a one month after UCPN-Maoist Chairman Dahal visited China. In Beijing, Dahal had urged Chinese political and business leaders to invest in Nepal’s infrastructure and energy sectors.

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