The Sher Bahadur Deuba Deuba-led former government, despite China’s repeated calls, rejected accepting commercial loans for rail-road connectivity projects under the BRI fearing a “debt trap”…writes Santosh Ghimire
A day after Maoist party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda was appointed as Nepals new prime minister, China on Monday said that it looks forward to working with the new government to push projects under the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Congratulating Prachanda on his appointment, Mao Ning, the official spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, has said that China wants to pursue projects under the Belt and Road cooperation.
“As Nepal’s traditional friend and neighbour, China deeply values its relations with Nepal. China stands ready to work with the new Nepalese government to expand and deepen friendly exchange and cooperation across the board, pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, inject new impetus into our strategic cooperative partnership featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity and deliver more benefits for our two peoples,” she told a regular press briefing at the ministry in Beijing on Monday.
Nepal joined the Chinese BRI back in May 2017 when Prachanda was heading the government in alliance with the Nepali Congress. However, not a single connectivity infrastructure projects under the BRI went into implementation since then.
The Sher Bahadur Deuba Deuba-led former government, despite China’s repeated calls, rejected accepting commercial loans for rail-road connectivity projects under the BRI fearing a “debt trap”.
Only last month, the government expressed its reservations over a Chinese proposal to sign a deal in order to carry out a feasibility study of an ambitious cross-border railway under the BRI.
In diplomatic interactions with Chinese authorities, Deuba communicated to them that his government preferred only grants from China to build mega projects.
With the advent of the left-dominated government, China is now asking Nepal for expediting projects under the BRI.
Although it is immediately not clear whether China played any intermediary role behind the close-door to form the present left-dominated government under Prachanda’s leadership, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Monday said that they have noted the recent political changes including general elections in Nepal.
“We have noted the smooth and successful general elections in Nepal. We congratulate Mr. Prachanda on his appointment as the new Prime Minister of Nepal,” she said.
She also believed that with the concerted efforts of the Nepalese government and people and through the consultation and coordination of various political parties and political forces, Nepal will enjoy continued stability and socioeconomic development.
China, which is also one of the key development partners and immediate neighbors of Nepal, has invested heavily in the country’s infrastructure projects including airports in recent years.
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