Beijing sending high-profile official to Kathmandu

KATHMANDU, JUN 27 – Ai Ping, known as the point man in the Communist Party of China (CPC) on South Asian affairs, is set to arrive in Kathmandu later this week to assess the political situation here. Ai is vice-minister at the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPC.

This will be the first high-level visit from the north since the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly on May 27.

On May 31, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu said Beijing sincerely hoped that political forces in Nepal would continue to pursue consensus through dialogue and consultation and work together to promote political stability and economic and social development.

“As a friendly neighbour, China is closely watching the development of Nepal’s political situation,” the Chinese Embassy said in a statement.

“China attaches great importance to developing a friendly and cooperative relationship with Nepal and supports efforts made by the Nepali side to safeguard its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and in striving for peace, stability and prosperity,” the statement read.

Ai is a familiar face in Katmandu’s political circle and will hold a series of talks with various political leaders, according to sources. Ai will be accompanied by a couple of CPC officials.

Although his itinerary has yet to be set, he is likely to meet President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and top leaders of the major political parties.

“One of the important factors that have constituted the strong foundation of China-Nepal relations is that we firmly support each other on issues regarding each other’s core concerns,” Ai had said in an interview with The Kathmandu Post last September.

“To take the Tibet issue for example, it is not only a matter concerning China’s sovereign and territorial integrity but also the internal security of Nepal, as well as common security and strategic interests of the two countries. We appreciate efforts made by all Nepal governments that have been upholding the one-China policy and firmly support China on such issues as Taiwan and Tibet. We hope Nepal will keep its firm support on that as it always does,” he had said.ekantipur

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