China offers $135 mn aid to Nepal

China offered USD 135 million in aid to Nepal to beef up its infrastructure and security during a brief visit by the Chinese Premier.

Kathmandu: In a bid to woo its land-locked
southern neighbour, China on Saturday offered USD 135 million in aid
to Nepal to beef up its infrastructure and security during a
brief and surprise visit by the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

Holding hectic parleys with Nepalese counterpart Baburam
Bhattarai, the country`s President Ram Baran Yadav, Maoist
chief Prachanda and leaders of other parties, Wen inked as
many as eight agreements amid a virtual media blackout.

His trip was conducted in complete secrecy and under
heavy security lockdown with police and paramilitary forces
deployed in strengths in and around the capital. The security
forces had as a precautionary measure detained large number of
Tibetan refugees apparently to bar them from holding

"The visit has proven a milestone in the development of
friendly ties between the two neighbouring countries," Deputy
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha told

The delegation level talks headed by Bhattarai and Wen
were held in a cordial atmosphere and the two sides agreed to
strengthen bilateral relations, expanding economic
cooperation, he said.

Under a series of agreements, Beijing agreed to provide
massive assistance for a number of Nepal`s infrastructure
projects and also bankroll the modernisation of the country`s
police. China offered a 750 million RMB (USD 113) in aid to
Nepal during the visit by Wen.

Wen announced USD 20 million as one time special grant to
Nepal. He also pledged to provide an annual grant assistance
of 200 million RMB to Nepal this year as part of 750 million
RMB worth three years grant assistance under economic and
technical cooperation, according to Shrestha.

China has also pledged to provide 4 million RMB to
strengthen the Armed Police Force of Nepal and 10 million RMB
to Nepal Police for enhancing its capacity.

The agreements include among other things, relating to
Management of Dry Ports along Nepal-China border, MoU on
strengthening cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign
Affairs of the two countries, agreement on economic and
technical cooperation between the two governments.

The agreements also include, exchange on notes between
the two countries on building Armed Police Force college,
agreement relating to providing police equipment to the
Ministry of Home and MoU on operationalisation of loan
mechanism between the two governments and Exim Bank of China.

China is one of the biggest investors in Nepal, financing
highways, power projects and other development projects. Wen
is the first high-ranking Chinese leader to visit Nepal in a
decade after a visit by then premier Zhu Rongji in 2001.

During the talk, the two sides also clarified their
policies governing the bilateral relations and expressed views
that both the countries have common stand in many regional and
international issues, Shrestha said.

During the bilateral meeting, Premier Bhattarai briefed
the Wen about the current political situation of Nepal and
progress made in the ongoing peace process and the
constitution drafting process, he said.

Prime Minister Bhattarai told Premier Wen that Nepal
government is moving forward in concluding the peace process
and constitution drafting by forging cooperation and
collaboration, Shrestha said.

The Chinese premier is accompanied by around a dozen
ministers including those carrying foreign, commerce and
National Development and Reforms portfolios. The visit was
reportedly kept under wraps due to security reasons and
threats of protests by the Tibetan refugees. Nepal in the
recent months tightened restrictions on the Tibetan refugees
following pressure from China.

The Chinese Prime Minister`s visit was held amidst
tightest security with even newsmen not allowed to enter the
airport as well as Singhdurbar where the talks were held.
Only few photographers and cameramen belonging to state
run media were allowed inside where talks were held.

The Chinese leader said that he is fully hopeful that the
peace process and the constitution making process will be
complete at the earliest. On the occasion Wen appreciated
Nepal`s one China policy and its ways to handle the Tibetan

During the luncheon, the top leaders of various political
parties had interaction with Chinese Prime Minister in a
cordial atmosphere, Shrestha said.

"All the political leaders on the occasion expressed
their common views regarding Nepal-China relations. All the
political leaders reiterated their commitment that Nepal
always upholds one-China policy. They also expressed their
view that Nepal will always honour genuine concerns and
worries of the northern neighbour," he said.

They also said in one voice that Nepal will not allow
any activity directed against Chinese interest from Nepalese

He said China will always extend its cooperation to
Nepal in attaining peace, stability, development and achieving
economic progress and defending sovereignty of the country.

The Chinese leader`s tour here comes apparently to
compensate the sudden cancellation of his scheduled tour to
the country last month.

Wen arrived in Kathmandu on a special aircraft at 11.45
am local time amidst extra-ordinarily beefed up security and
media restrictions.

An hour before the Chinese PM`s arrival four persons
including two women carrying Chinese passports were detained
from Narayanhity Palace Museum area with the suspicion of
being Tibetan activists. Two of them were wearing monk dress.

Earlier, Bhattarai and his two deputies Foreign Minister
Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Home Minister BIjaya Kumar Gachhadar
reached the Tribhuvan International Airport for his welcome.

Wen`s entourage include, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang
Jiechi, Minister of the National Development and Reform
Commission Zhang Ping, Commerce Minister Chen Deming, Director
of the Research Office of the State Council Xie Fuzhan among

The visit paid by Wen Jiabao to Nepal has been highly
successful and the visit has, in fact, strengthened and
improved the bilateral friendly ties existing between Nepal
and China taking it to a new height, during a media briefing
at Kathmandu airport after bidding farewell to Wen, Deputy
Prime Minister said.

During the luncheon hosted by Bhattarai in honour of
Prime Minister Wen at Singhdurbar Secretariat top leaders of
the major political parties of Nepal were invited.

Those who met Premier Wen at the luncheon were Maoist
chief Prachanda, Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala,
CPN-UML chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and Mahantha Thakur,
president of Terai Madhes Democratic Party.

All the leaders on the occasion expressed the view that
they are seriously involved in concluding the peace process
and drafting the new constitution by forging cooperation and
collaboration among themselves and expressed gratitude to
international community including China for their support and

He also expressed pleasure that Nepalese political
parties are moving forward by forging cooperation and
consensus to resolve the issues relating to peace and
constitution and said that China will always extend
cooperation to Nepal`s efforts to conclude?peace process and
constitution drafting.

The two sides maintained that China-Nepal
relations are of vital significance to both countries.

Deepening bilateral friendship and cooperation serve
the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two
peoples and are conducive to peace stability and development
in the reign and the world at large, says a joint statement
issued on conclusion of the visit.

"The two sides agreed to further intensify
cooperation, in socio economic developments, promotion of
trade and tourism, hydropower, transportation and
infrastructure development and other fields on the basis of
equality and mutual benefit.

"The Chinese side agreed to expedite the
implementation of various developments projects including the
upgrading and expansion of existing Ring Road of Kathmandu and
Tatopani Dry port in Nepal-Tibet border.

The Nepalese side said it firmly supports the
efforts by China government to uphold state sovereignty,
national unity and territorial integrity and not allow any
forces to use Nepalese territory for any anti-China or
separatist activities."

"The two sides also agreed to continue discussion
regarding the bilateral agreement on the Business Investment
Promotion and Protection of Investment (BIPPA)."