Nepal govt working out agendas for PM Prachanda's China visit Saud

Kathmandu, Sep 4 (PTI) Nepal's government has been working out agendas, ranging from agricultural development to opening the northern checkpoints to hydropower development, for the official visit of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' to China later this month, according to his close aide.
    Prime Minister 'Prachanda' will visit China at the end of this month, a trip aimed at maintaining a balance in ties with both the neighbours - China and India. This will be his second foreign trip after assuming the office in December last year. The 68-year-old Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre (CPN-MC) leader visited India in June as his first foreign trip after assuming office for the third time.
    "Prime Minister Prachanda is embarking on a visit to China leading a Nepalese delegation towards the third week of September, and the agenda of the visit range from agricultural development to opening northern checkpoints to hydropower development,” Foreign Minister N P Saud said during a press conference in Solukhumbu district on Sunday.
    During the visit, Prachanda is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others, and discuss matters relating to the construction of a cross-border transmission line with Chinese officials.
    "During the bilateral talks, matters relating to the grants pledged by President Xi during his Nepal visit in 2019 will also feature," he said.
    The programmes will be decided on a priority basis to utilise the grants to be provided by the government of China during the visit, he added.
    Stating that there are around a dozen checkpoints on the northern border with China, he said the talks will also touch upon the operation of these border points.
    "Some of these checkpoints were shut down in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and efforts will be made to reopen these checkpoints during the visit."
    Saud said that the delegation will float proposals to move forward for attracting Chinese investment for developing hydropower projects lying on the China border including Kimathanka.
    "Besides these, the projects including the construction of transmission lines from Rasuwa and Kimathanka will also be discussed," he said, adding that the east-west highway, Seti Corridor, road construction from Hilsa to Surkhet, Nuwakot-Chhahare tunnel road construction and upgradation and renovation of Kodari Highway are on agenda.
    Similarly, cooperation on health-related matters including the extension of Civil Hospital and Bir Hospital of Kathmandu will feature during the bilateral talks, he said.
    The two sides will also discuss trade-related issues including reducing Nepal’s high trade deficit, the minister said.
    "We will identify goods to be exported to China and also explore the possibility of establishing export-oriented joint venture industries by attracting Chinese investment to address the trade deficit currently facing Nepal," he added.
    Prachanda will leave for an official visit to the US and China on September 16. He will travel to the US first, where he will attend the 78th United Nations General Assembly. After spending five days in the US, Prachanda will fly directly to Beijing.
    Prachanda's visit to China is a bid by the senior Maoist leader to strike a balance in relations with China and India.
    China has been actively investing in Nepal in many infrastructure projects.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)