Nepal and China will sign the implementation plan of the Belt and Road Initiative very soon, Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha said on Saturday, nearly seven years after the two neighbours inked an agreement to undertake ambitious Beijing-backed infrastructure projects in the Himalayan nation.
Once we sign the implementation plan, we will move into the implementation phase, Shrestha, also the Minister for Home Affairs said while addressing an event here that is part of the Silk Road Youth Forum and South Asian Cooperation Conference.
He said the two countries will sign the implementation plan of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) very soon without specifying any date. His statement came as Sun Haiyan, a senior leader of China’s ruling Communist Party, was visiting Nepal and meeting the country’s top leaders.
The signing of the BRI implementation plan is the key to negotiate and execute the projects under the initiative. Nepal and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the BRI in 2017. However, not a single project under the initiative, a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, has either been executed or negotiated. The BRI, which aims to enhance connectivity and promote economic cooperation, has opened up new avenues for collaboration between the two nations, Shrestha said, adding that one of the cornerstones of Nepal-China cooperation is infrastructure development.
“For nations like Nepal, nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, these initiatives open up possibilities for enhanced connectivity that can transform the economic landscape, he said. China’s support in building critical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and energy projects, has been instrumental in propelling Nepal towards economic growth and stability, Shrestha said. The signing of the BRI implementation plan between Nepal and China has been one of the prime agenda since early 2020 but an agreement has been elusive due to differences between the two sides over investment modality, The Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, speaking during an interaction programme with various political leaders of Nepal that was organised here, Sun Haiyan, the Vice Minister of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China, urged the stakeholders of both nations to not get affected by the attempts by other countries to spoil ties between China and Nepal. Without naming any nation, Sun said that countries come and go but it was the people of Nepal and China who were affected. “There are other countries trying to play with the Nepal-China relations. They come and go. It is the people of Nepal and China who are affected by their activities, said Sun. Sun, who is on a three-day visit to Nepal, said: “It is therefore necessary to move forward setting up targets. We have to work in unison to face the difficulties, and make cooperation more practical”.
Senior leader of the ruling Nepali Congress Shashanka Koirala said that his party is willing to collaborate with China in the area of Nepal’s development. He also expressed gratitude to China for assisting the 2015 earthquake and also during the coronavirus pandemic.
The signing of the BRI implementation plan is the key to negotiating and implementing the projects under the initiative.
Nepal and China signed the memorandum of understanding on BRI in 2017 but not a single project under the initiative has been implemented. Once we sign the agreement, we will move into the implementation phase, Shrestha said while addressing an event that is part of the Silk Road Youth Forum and South Asian Cooperation Conference.