(TibetanReview.net, Jul10’22) – China is in the thick of Nepal’s internal politics again. A seven-member Chinese delegation was arriving in capital Kathmandu today, raising speculations about the purpose of the visit, which is taking place in the backdrop of talks about a possible electoral alliance among Nepal’s communist parties, reported the ANI news service Jul 10.
Led by the new head of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China, Liu Jianchao, the high-level delegation’s visit comes as the Himalayan nation is heading towards federal and provincial elections and the country’s Election Commission has already proposed holding both the elections in a single phase on Nov 18.
Liu was stated to have interacted with Maoist Centre chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and UML chair KP Sharma Oli, last month, continuing the trend of his predecessor.
During its current visit, the Chinese delegation will meet with President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Foreign Minister Khadka, as well as Oli, Dahal and other leaders while assessing how possible it is to reunite the communist forces in Nepal, the report said, citing the Kathmandu Post newspaper.
The Chinese are still weighing the possibility of unity among the communist forces. “A possible agenda of the visit could be to encourage a pre- or post-poll alliance between like-minded lefties forces or only between the UML and the Maoist Centre,” a UML leader who has interacted frequently with Chinese leaders was reported to have told the Kathmandu Post.
The delegation’s visit also follows the Nepal Parliament’s ratification of the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation Nepal Compact despite strong opposition and criticisms from China, which sees it as a challenge to its sphere of influence.
More recently, China expressed grave concerns over the question whether Nepal would sign up to the US State Partnership Program (SPP) in the field of security and military, which could make it a US ally in defence cooperation. China commended Nepal when the latter decided Jun 20 not to be a part of the SPP.
However, the US has not given up efforts to push the SPP programme while still preparing another military cooperation scheme as an alternative to it to be signed during Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s upcoming official visit to Washington in mid-July, said China’s official globaltimes.cn Jul 6, citing “a local source close to the matter.”