Kathmandu: A high-level Chinese delegation, led by a vice minister of the Chinese Communist Party, arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday to “take stock” of Nepal’s political situation after the dissolution of the parliament and a subsequent split in the ruling Nepal Communist Party, according to a media report.
Although no specific details about the agenda of the visit are available, the four-member delegation, led by Vice Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Guo Yezhou, will hold high-level talks during their stay in Kathmandu, My Republica newspaper reported, citing senior NCP leaders.
Quoting a diplomatic source, it said the visit is aimed at “taking stock of Nepal’s evolving political situation after the dissolution of the House of Representatives and subsequent split in the ruling Nepal Communist Party amid already-deepened intra-party rift.”
Nepal plunged into a political crisis last Sunday after embattled Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, known for his pro-Beijing leanings, in a surprise move recommended dissolving the 275-member House, amidst a tussle for power with former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ”Prachanda”.
Acting on the prime minister’s recommendation, President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House the same day and announced fresh elections on April 30th and May 10th, sparking protests from a large section of the NCP led by Prachanda, also a co-chair of the ruling party. Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are tight-lipped about Guo’s visit, the report stated.
Earlier this week, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi, had communicated about the visit of Guo to Kathmandu during her meetings with senior NCP leaders of both the Prachanda- and Oli-led factions.
Vice Minister Guo is scheduled to hold meetings with the leaders of both the factions.
Beijing appears concerned over the move of Oli to dissolve the House of Representatives and the evolving political situation that saw a vertical split in the NCP. Shortly after the dissolution of the House, the Chinese ambassador expedited her meetings with top political leadership in Nepal.
Hou has already held meetings with President Bhandari, senior NCP leaders Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal, former House speakers Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Barsha Man Pun, among others. This is not the first time that China has intervened in Nepal’s internal affairs at a time of crisis.
In May, Hou held separate meetings with the president, the prime minister and other senior NCP leaders, including Prachanda, when Oli was facing mounting pressure to step down.
In July, she again met a number of top leaders, including the president, the prime minister, Prachanda, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal and Bamdev Gautam to save the Oli government.
A number of political party leaders had termed the Chinese envoy’s series of meetings with the ruling party leaders as interference in Nepal’s internal political affairs.
Dozens of student activists carrying placards with anti-China slogans had staged a demonstration in front of the Chinese Embassy protesting Hou’s interference in Nepal’s internal affairs.
China’s political profile in Nepal has been on the rise in the recent years with billions of dollars of investments under Beijing’s multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), including the building of the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network.
Besides the investments, China’s ambassador to Nepal Hou has made open efforts to garner support for Oli.
The CCP and NCP were regularly engaged in training programmes. In September last year, the NCP had even organised a symposium- inviting some CCP leaders to Kathmandu to impart training to Nepali leaders on the ‘Xi Jinping thought’, ahead of the visit of the Chinese president’s first visit to Nepal, according to a Kathmandu Post report.
In a guarded reaction to the fast-paced political developments in Nepal, India on Thursday said it was an “internal matter” of the neighbouring nation and it was for the country to decide as per its democratic processes.
“We have noted the recent political developments in Nepal. These are internal matters for Nepal to decide as per its democratic processes,” said External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava in New Delhi.
“As a neighbour and well-wisher, India will continue to support Nepal and its people in moving forward on the path of peace, prosperity and development,” he said.