Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to visit Nepal soon, informed officials have indicated. The visit, however, depends on the ability of both nations to prepare groundwork for signing major bilateral agreements inlcuding the expansion of Tibet Railway upto Kathmandu, construction of fuel pipelines, among others, during the visit, experts opine. Both nations have already extended invitation for state visit to each other’s executives.
Bilateral talks held between China and Nepal last week in Beijing had discussed agenda for the top-level visits with top priority. Nepali delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa, had returned home after reaching an understanding with the Chinese side to formulate policy for long-term bilateral economic relations between the two neighboring countries.
Discussions during the visit had concluded that the two sides would work on further details at ministerial level and formalize it during a top level visit. Informed officials claim that agreement on petroleum trade could be signed during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit if he visits the northern neighbour soon.
Beijing however wants to make a “breakthrough” in Nepal-China relations if President Xi visits Nepal. The Chinese presisdent’s year-long visit schedule is generally prepared within the month of February and several officials are optimistic that this time Nepal can make it into his list.
“Latest developments suggest that Chinese president or prime minister may visit prior or after Prime Minister Oli’s China visit,” said Nepali Ambassador to China Mahesh Maskey. However, experts believe that Chinese president’s visit can’t be expected without giving a shape to a bilateral agreement.
“China wants that during the president’s visit there should be an agreement and there should be a reliable government to implement the same,” said a Beijing-based expert on South Asia affairs. “If both the sides can reach an agreement on feasibility study for extending Tibet Railway up to Kathmandu, it can be taken as a basis for the visit.”