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Nepal’s governing party concerned about China’s pro-communist agenda ahead of general election

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(TibetanReview.net, Jul13’22) – A visiting delegation from China made it a point to begin by calling on Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and holding talks with Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka, but its main agenda is seen to be to try to reunite the communist parties ahead of the coming general and local elections in Nepal. And the Nepali Congress party headed by the prime minister is clearly not very happy with it and let it be known, according to the kathmandupost.com Jul 13. There is no doubt, however, that China appears to be keen to renew its engagements with the Nepali Congress as well, according to a Nepali analyst.

“At a historic moment when the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century and the world is entering a period of turbulent change, the Communist Party of China is willing to strengthen strategic communication with the Nepali Congress, promote mutually beneficial cooperation, deepen exchanges and mutual learning, and on issues involving each other’s core interests and major concerns,” the report quoted the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) as saying in a statement on Jul 11 after its head Liu Jianchao’s meeting with Deuba.

But the Nepali side, while reiterating its commitment to the One-China policy, has made it clear that China should not encourage any sort of grouping against each other in Nepal.

“Our implied message to the Chinese official was that Beijing should see all political parties in Nepal with equal eyes and that it should not encourage any kind of grouping against another,” the report quoted a Congress leader who was present at a dinner hosted for the delegation by Khadka as saying.

China sees Nepali Congress as more West- and India-friendly and prefers to see a communist rule in Nepal. At the Khadka-hosted dinner, the Nepali side was stated to have made it clear that it wanted to maintain good relations with China despite the two countries having different political and social systems.

“It looks apparent that China wants to maintain good relations with all the political parties in Nepal, but within the Congress, concerns remain if Beijing is in a bid to give a renewed push for a unity—or an alliance—among Nepali communist parties,” the report said.

Following China’s efforts, an alliance of communist parties ruled China with a thumping majority after the last general election. But the alliance fell apart and the government fell last year despite hectic efforts from Beijing.

When the then Nepal Communist Party (NCP), born out of a merger between the UML and the Maoist Centre, was on the verge of an implosion, Hou Yanqi, the Chinese ambassador in Kathmandu, had held a series of talks with multiple communist leaders in an apparent bid to save the party. But the NCP fell apart on Mar 7 last year, as a court order invalidated it, the report noted.

“The Congress is seen as a party that is historically and ideologically close to India and the West,” Mrigendra Kumar Karki, executive director at the Centre for Nepal and South Asian Studies, has said. “But the late BP Koirala had great relations with China. He backed China in the United Nations. The Chinese also must have realised that they need to work together with all political parties in Nepal, including the Congress.”

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