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China to boost cooperation with Nepal in infrastructure connectivity: Xi

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BEIJING: China is ready to bolster its ties with landlocked Nepal in infrastructure connectivity, trade and investment under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, President Xi Jinping on Wednesday assured Nepal’s Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.

China and Nepal signed eight key agreements for developing major infrastructure projects in the Himalayan nation to further deepen the bilateral ties, Nepal’s Foreign Ministry said.

President Xi congratulated Nepal for achieving political stability and outlining economic development priorities and assured China’s full support and cooperation in realising Nepal’s development goals, the statement said.

China has been investing heavily in Nepal in the last few years to enhance connectivity and infrastructure.

“China stands ready to strengthen cooperation with Nepal in infrastructure connectivity, post-disaster reconstruction, trade and investment under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative,” Xi was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

Xi said China was committed to keep intact the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nepal, the Kathmandu Post reported. During the meeting, Xi expressed gratitude towards Nepal for maintaining the ‘One China’ policy and not allowing anti-China activities on Nepalese territory, it said.

Oli, who arrived here yesterday on his first official visit to China since his re-election, witnessed the signing of the agreements at the Nepal Embassy.

The agreements were signed between the governments and private companies of Nepal and China to develop hydropower projects, cement industries, and establish high land food parks, the statement said.

An agreement was signed between the Investment Board of Government of Nepal and Huaxin Cement Narayani Pvt Ltd under which the Chinese firm has pledged Nepalese Rs 14.4 billion (USD 130 million) of FDI to generate 3,000 metric tonnes of cement per day, it said.

Another MoU was signed to prepare a detailed feasibility study on Eastern Tarai Irrigation System in the Biring, Kamala and Kankai rivers, it said, adding the two nations agreed on establishing the highland food park for varieties of fruits and vegetables with an investment of over USD 46 million.

The two countries also agreed for the development of 164 MW Nepal Kaligandaki Gorge Hydropower Project which would be developed on BOOT (Build-Own-Operate-Transfer) model.

An agreement for the construction of 40.27 MW Siuri Nyadi Hydropower Plant Project in EPCF (Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Finance) model was also signed at the embassy.

An agreement between Nepal Pashmina Industries Association and One Belt One Road International Trade Platform of CIC Mutual Trade Investment Company was signed for the sale of Nepali pashmina in China, it said, adding the purchase order from China would be between 200,000 to 500,000 pieces every year.

A separate MoU on Framework Agreement for Cooperation in Marsyangdi Cascade Hydropower Project of 600 MW was also signed.

The two sides also agreed for the Construction of 75 MW Trishuli Galchhi Hydropower Project in EPCF Model, the statement said.

During his six-day visit, Oli is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang tomorrow.

During his brief tenure in 2016, Oli widened China-Nepal ties by signing the transit trade treaty with China to reduce the dependence of his landlocked country on India at the height of the Madhesi agitation. He had sought expansion of road links through Tibet besides extension of China’s railway to Nepal through the Himalayas.

(Source- The Economic Times)

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