Will it happen?

Mar 20, 2017

PM Dahal is in no position to agree to join China’s OBOR initiative or even for review of the 1960 Nepal-China friendship treaty 
A cursory look at the agendas of our Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s planned visit to China makes a skeptic like me wonder if he will really visit China. The prime minister knows that his loyalty or commitment to China will be tested by the leadership in Beijing. But he is in no position to agree to China’s desire for Nepal’s formal commitment to One-Belt-One Road (OBOR) or to the review of the 1960 Nepal-China friendship treaty. I doubt if he is even mature enough to convince the Chinese leadership about Nepal’s position on those issues. If history is any guide, Dahal could postpone the visit at the last minute, just as he did to avoid discussing new treaty with China during his first tenure as prime minister in 2010. 

Just before the 2010 visit, he used the then Chief of Army Staff Rookmangud Katawal as a scapegoat to create a political crisis and avoid going to China. The Chinese side then gradually stopped raising the issue of new treaty with Nepal formally and publicly. But this time, with Dahal as prime minister for the second time, the Chinese are at it again, this time not so much in favor of a new treaty, but just to test how accommodative Dahal is of Chinese interests. If the Chinese had wanted a new treaty, they could have raised the issue with previous governments and they would have gotten it, almost certainly during PM KP Oli’s visit to China last March. It goes without saying that by raising the issue again, China wants to gauge Indian influence in Nepal-China relations.


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My Republica, March 20, 2017

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