China will Assist with $119 million in aid to Nepal - Asia

China will Assist with $119 million in aid to Nepal

KATMANDU, Nepal – Being one of the poorest Neighbours and supporting the one china policy, China on Saturday agreed to provide Nepal with $119 million in aid during a surprise visit to the Himalayan nation by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

Tirtha Wagle, the Nepalese foreign ministry spokesman, said that countries signed agreements under which Beijing will provide economic and technical assistance and strengthen Nepal’s police. Nepal is home to thousands of Tibetan exiles, and the government has worked to suppress anti-China sentiment here.

Wen Jiabao had planned to visit Nepal last month, but that trip was canceled for undisclosed reasons. This visit came ahead of a Middle East trip by the premier and was kept secret until a few hours before he arrived. It may be due to security reasons and the recent uprising of exiled Tibetans protest fear as well.

China has built highways and financed other development projects in Nepal, which is looking for increased financial assistance and investment as it recovers from years of insurgency and political uncertainty.

Nepal is looking for China’s help in developing a small airport at Pokhara, a tourist resort, into an international airport, and in building mountain highways and a hydropower plant.

China’s major concern in Nepal has been its thousands of Tibetan refugees, who want independence from China and the return of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. Thousands more Tibetans pass through Nepal every year on their way to India, where the Dalai Lama lives in exile.

Nepal’s government has previously blocked Tibetan exiles from demonstrating against China, and police have detained some protesters. With security tight in the Nepalese capital on Saturday, there were no protests.

Wen held talks Saturday with Nepal’s prime minister and met with Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav, Sushil Koirala of the Nepali Congress, and Pushpa Kamal Dahal of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

On the occasion, Chinese Premier Jiabao said China was ready to help as much as it could for the peace and constitution in Nepal.

According to Press Advisor to the Prime Minister, Ram Rijhan Yadav, Prime Minister Bhattarai briefed his Chinese counterpart about the ongoing peace process and constitution writing in Nepal.

Various eight agreements have been signed between Nepal and China in the presence of the two prime ministers. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha and the Foreign Minister of China signed the agreement on dry port management on the Nepal-China border, frontier pasture agreement, and agreement on the exchange of assistance between the foreign ministries of the two countries.

Similarly, Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun and his Chinese counterpart signed the agreements on economic and technical assistance promotion, the establishment of a training academy for the Armed Police Force of Nepal, and three others on providing various logistic supports to the Nepal Police.

Furthermore, an agreement was reached between the two countries to set up a mechanism for cultural exchange and loan management.