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Chinese Ambassador’s meetings part of solidarity from Beijing: Nepal Foreign Minister

Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. File

Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. File   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Pradeep Kumar Gyawali says Kathmandu is in touch with both China and India for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and acknowledged support from both countries to counter the emerging humanitarian challenge

The recent meetings between the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal and leading political figures of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) were part of China’s efforts to strengthen Kathmandu’s fight against the COVID-19, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said on Wednesday. Mr. Gyawali conveyed Nepal is in touch with both China and India for dealing with the crisis caused by the pandemic and acknowledged support from both countries to counter the emerging humanitarian challenge.

“The meetings between the Chinese Ambassador and leaders of the Nepal Communist Party were part of their message of solidarity to Nepal’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Nepal Foreign Ministry usually facilitates such meetings, and it is with the permission of the Foreign Ministry that diplomats of other countries are allowed to meet our leaders,” said Mr. Gyawali, speaking from Kathmandu.

‘Protocols followed’

He maintained that the necessary protocols were followed when Ambassador Hou Yanqi last week met leaders like Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, Madhav Nepal and Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli.

The meetings were interpreted as China’s attempts to repair the internal rifts in the NCP which could have toppled Mr. Oli’s government.

The meetings which also included one between the Chinese envoy and President Bidhya Devi Bhandari materialised in the backdrop of growing challenge to Mr. Oli from Mr. Prachanda who had asked him to resign in an internal meeting of the party’s top leaders. Unconfirmed reports suggest that following the meetings, Mr. Prachanda agreed not to challenge Mr. Oli.

The interactions had drawn criticism as some viewed them to be an interference in the internal affairs of the country. Former Ambassador to India and Nepali Congress leader Deep Kumar Upadhyay said these meetings were beyond the realm of usual protocol requirements of a foreign Ambassador. “Nepali people usually disapprove of such meetings as these are not actions covered by official protocol,” said Mr. Upadhyay speaking from Kathmandu.

Mr. Gyawali said that both China and India wanted political stability in Nepal, and Kathmandu welcomed goodwill from both neighbours. “As a neighbour, China expects Nepal to remain politically stable and continue on the path of development. This is China’s benign concern for Nepal,” said Mr. Gyawali arguing that Nepal sought greater international collaboration with all in the region to fight the challenge posed by the pandemic.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 11:27:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/chinese-ambassadors-meetings-part-of-solidarity-from-beijing-nepal-foreign-minister/article31523891.ece

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