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Nepal’s election results a disappointment to Beijing

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(TibetanReview.net, Dec18’22) – China not only failed to persuade the communist parties to come together to put up a united fight in the just-concluded general and local elections in Nepal but also several advisors of KP Oli, former Prime Minister and president of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), have lost their election while Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s legislative presence has got weakened. These have reduced the parliamentary influence of the country’s trenchantly pro-China Communists.

Although the new government is likely to see continuity in ties with China, Nepal’s latest change of guard may thus come as a major diplomatic setback for Chinese President Xi Jinping as the power equations in Kathmandu, under Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba-led coalition, are unlikely to be that much inclined towards Beijing, noted english.pardafas.com Dec 16.

Deuba has already invested his political capital behind pushing the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement with the United States, work on which has already begun. China is strongly opposed to this agreement which it condemns as a geopolitical move directed against it.

The report noted that following the formation of the five-party coalition government led by Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba in July 2021, there has been limited engagement with China, except for a phone conversation between the two foreign ministers and a few bilateral mechanism-level meetings. Both sides blamed Covid-19 for such a situation, but then high-level Chinese officials have been touring other countries even in this period, it was pointed out.

What is more, the Deuba government was stated to have upset China after it raised the issue of China’s alleged border encroachment without consulting Beijing. A few weeks after taking over government reins, Prime Minister Deuba formed a panel to investigate alleged Chinese encroachment in Humla district. The panel was stated to have subsequently flagged some issues.

After the election date was announced, Nepal saw several high-level Chinese delegation visits to the country in an apparent push bring the country’s communist parties together. These included delegations led by Foreign Minister Wang Yi in March, National People’s Congress of China’s Standing Committee chairman Li Zhanshu in September, and Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism, Li Qun just days before the elections.

China brokered the communist alliance in Nepal back in 2017; but the government of the then newly formed Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) collapsed in Mar 2021 despite relentless, even hectic, efforts by Beijing.

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