China is reviving BRI in Nepal! Beijing’s third-highest leader on Kathmandu visit, signs six-point agreement

Kathmandu : A new agreement has been signed between Nepal and China under the Belt and Road Initiative on Monday. The agreement was signed by China’s third tallest leader Li Zhanshu and Speaker of Nepal’s House of Representatives Agni Prasad Sapkota. Both the countries have agreed to enhance mutual cooperation on Governance, Legislative and Supervisory under BRI. Lee, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, arrived in Nepal on Monday on a three-day visit at the invitation of President Sapkota. According to sources, the two leaders held delegation-level talks at the Federal Parliament House in Naya Baneshwar. This was followed by the signing of a six-point agreement between the Federal Parliament of Nepal and the People’s Congress of China.

According to the joint statement, both sides will attach importance to the exchange of information related to each other’s legislative, supervisory and governance related work. Both sides will work for common benefit by enhancing mutual engagement between the two countries, including the BRI. According to Nepal’s Foreign Ministry, during the meeting the two sides agreed to further strengthen inter-parliamentary exchanges and cooperation. Li also conveyed his best wishes for the success of the upcoming elections to parliament and assemblies in Nepal.

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Flop China’s dream project in Nepal
Nepal and China signed the BRI in May 2017. The two sides had agreed to develop and build the Nepal-China cross-border railway under the BRI but no concrete progress has been made so far under this. There are many reasons for the failure of BRI in Nepal. According to Pradeep Gyawali, who was the Foreign Minister in the Oli cabinet, ‘The beginning was very slow. The selection of projects took a long time and then their number was reduced from 35 to 9. We were working on a plan to start projects when the pandemic struck and our priorities changed.

When will the BRI projects start?
According to Gyawali, the stand of the Sher Bahadur Deuba government regarding BRI is confusing. Observers say that there were political, ideological and practical reasons behind the failure of the BRI in Nepal. During the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal in October 2019, it was agreed that Nepal and China would see the BRI as an important opportunity to deepen beneficial cooperation. Officials say they can’t say for sure when BRI’s other projects, such as the cross-border railway, will start.

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