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China’s Policy toward Nepal: A message from the visit of IDCPC leader

Four days’ visit of Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC) to Nepal concluded on July 14, 2022.

Liu, who was appointed minister of the department at the end of May, had already had virtual discussions with the leadership of Nepali political parties before his visit to Nepal. Liu’s visit follows a high-level visit from the north following the visit of the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in late March. The frequent visits of high-ranking officials from the northern neighbour to Nepal have been taken as consequential. On the other hand, China seems to have given high priority to Nepal with the US recent activism.

Liu’s visit was completed amid China’s interest, priority and doubts about Nepal. Recently, the Millennium Challenge Account Compact (MCA Compact) with the US foreign assistance agency Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was passed by the House of Representatives, and the US military partnership program ‘National Guard State Partnership Program (SPP)’ came into discourse and the visit of the US ‘Special Coordinator’ for Tibet Affairs to Nepal. In this scenario, China’s interest and concern over Nepal are growing. In this context, the Liu-led team that came to Nepal has returned with the same message. Of greater interest to the Chinese team visiting Nepal is the growing American influence in Nepal. Experts say that the main purpose of this visit is to stop the growing American influence in Nepal.

Liu Jianchao Madhav NepalChina took Nepal’s approval of MCC seriously. On the other hand, China has welcomed Nepal’s decision not to participate in the SPP. Similarly, China expressed concern over the visit of Uzra Zeya, the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights in the Biden Administration and ‘Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, to Nepal in May. While in Nepal, she visited a Tibetan camp in Jawalakhel. China expressed its concern and argued Nepal stop such ‘activities’.

Liu, who visited Nepal, has repeated the same concerns and anxiety while holding political meetings in Kathmandu. He had a courtesy meeting with President Vidyadevi Bhandari and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, president of Nepal Congress (NC). Similarly, he met with the main opposition party CPN (UML) chair KP Sharma Oli, CPN (Maoist Center) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachand’, CPN (Unified Socialist) chair Madhav Nepal and leader Jhalnath Khanal. He also met with Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka.

Minister Liu wants to connect the broken link with the Nepali Congress during his visit to Nepal. He said that CPC wants to increase strategic communication with Nepali Congress. “At a historical moment when the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century and the world is entering a period of turbulent change, the Communist Party of China is willing to strengthen strategic communication with the Nepalese Congress Party, promote mutually beneficial cooperation, deepen exchanges and mutual learning, and on issues involving each other’s core interests and major concerns,” IDCPC quote minister Liu after the meeting with the PM and NC president Deuba.

Liu-Jianchao-and-Pushpa-Kamal-DahalDuring the meeting, both sides agree to support each other, implement the important consensus reached by General Secretary Xi Jinping during his visit to Nepal in October 2019, and push forward the continuous development of the China-Nepal strategic partnership of friendship for generations to come for development and prosperity, so as to benefit the two countries and the two peoples.

China believes that its relationship with Nepal is linked to a mutual understanding with the government or all parties outside and to the aspirations of the people. The team led by leader Liu reached Sundarijal on Tuesday and inspected the BP Koirala Museum as a link to improve relations with the NC.

During the meeting with the communist leaders of Nepal, Chinese leader Liu expressed interest in unity among the communist parties of Nepal.

During the meeting with UML Chairman Oli, UCPN (Maoist) Central Chairman Prachanda, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Nepal and Khanal, the leaders said that they were interested in the possibility of unity between the communist Party of Nepal. But, China has cleared the issues of the Unification of Nepalese Communist parties as an internal issue of Nepal. Western and Indian think tanks and media accused China of influencing Communists in Nepal for unification. But UML international department chief Dr Rajan Bhattarai rejected it. They have no opinion on the reconciliation and integration of Nepal’s communist parties as it is an internal matter, Bhattarai, who participated in the meeting, informed.

Liu Jianchao kp oliLiu also thanked Nepal for being committed to the ‘One China Policy’ and supporting China in Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong issues. China has also promised to support Nepal’s sovereignty, independence and geographical integrity.

Meanwhile, the issue of communist parties between the two countries was also discussed in the meeting with the communist leaders. Madhav Nepal, chair of Unified Socialist, informed us that China has a concern about the splits of Nepal’s communists. More than that, The Chinese side has expressed concern about Tibet issues. After being appointed to IDCPC, the chief, by starting his first visit from Nepal, conveyed the message that CPC and PRC prioritized Nepal.

Meanwhile, during the meeting in Nepal, Liu also expressed concern about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation. He also expressed interest in the implementation of the high-level understanding reached during the Chinese President’s visit to Nepal. On behalf of Nepal, Prime Minister Deuba thanked China for its support in the fight against COVID-19 in Nepal and said that they would like to jointly partner in the construction of BRI. He also said he wanted to work with China to achieve mutual benefits and win-win results.

During the meeting, Prachanda said that he would always support the development of relations between the two countries and pledged to contribute to the expansion of the three-dimensional communication network across the Himalayas by advancing the projects under the BRI project.

Liu Jianchao, head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee
Liu Jianchao, head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and Nepal’s Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal attend the launch ceremony in Kathmandu, Nepal, July 11, 2022

Lately, while the US has been adopting all measures in line with its strategy to stop China, it has also given priority to Nepal. Even the Biden administration is pushing the US Trump administration’s policy toward China. Accusing China of undermining the World Order, the United States has pursued various partnerships programs with its ally to stop China. Accordingly, the United States has given priority to Nepal, with contentment, not just ‘engagement’.

The United States is doing everything in its power to stop China. On the one hand, it has all sorts of partnerships; information war, military partnership, or development partnership, all measures have been taken. On the other hand, the US is expanding its partnership with China’s neighbouring countries such as Nepal to besiege PRC from land. As the US comes forward aggressively, Beijing understands that if it reacts after the US action, the US influence will increase. It’s the reason behind the IDCPC minister’s visit to Nepal following the Visit of State Councilor Wang. China, which has been advancing diplomacy virtually for some time due to COVID-19, has recently started advancing physically.

Taking into account the geopolitically sensitive situation of Nepal should advance its relationship with the US by addressing the Chinese interests. Nepal has a non-aligned policy. It has to take care of it and move forward with maintaining relations with friendly nations. He said that no matter what the Chinese leaders say, their main concern is that Nepal should not become a playground against China.

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