Nepal PM ‘Prachanda’ apparently declines to endorse President Xi’s security doctrine during China visit

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BEIJING: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, currently on an 8-day visit to China, has apparently declined to endorse President Xi Jinping’s security doctrine even as the two countries agreed to undertake a “joint inspection” of their boundary. A joint statement issued after Prachanda’s talks with Xi and Chinese Premier Li Qiang only referred to the Global Development Initiative, (GDI), proposed by Xi, but his other two doctrines – the Global Security Initiative (GSI), which advocates a common global security paradigm, and the Global Cultural Initiative (GCI) – promotion of culture were conspicuously missing.
“The Nepali side supports the Global Development Initiative (GDI) proposed by China, and will consider to join the Group of Friends of the GDI,” the Joint Statement issued after Prachanda’s talks Li said.
Prachanda had earlier met Xi on the sidelines of the Asian Games in Hangzhou on September 23.
Ahead of his China visit, Prachanda said the GSI, which also advocates joint security, is not in the interest of Nepal to maintain a strategic balance between India, China and the US.

Reports from Kathmandu said Prachanda sidestepped China’s pressure to welcome Xi’s new doctrines, the GSI, and the GCI but endorsed the GDI. Before leaving for China’s Hangzhou, in an interview with Kantipur daily in New York, Prachanda had categorically denied the chances of Nepal joining a security-related alliance, The Kathmandu Post reported on Monday.
Speaking in the context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) during the interview, the prime minister stated that China is initiating the GSI, the GCI and the GDI and among these, there is no hesitation to participate in the GDI.

“But, we cannot wade into security-related issues. It is our stated policy not to be under the umbrella of any side. Ours is a non-aligned foreign policy. On the other hand, we are saying the American Indo-Pacific Strategy and State Partnership Programme are part of security initiatives. If we are not taking part in one initiative [IPS, SPP], we cannot join others too,” Prachanda said.
The GSI and GCI were conspicuously missing from the official Chinese media account of Prachanda’s talks with Xi and Li. But the joint statement spoke of joint inspection of the China-Nepal boundary.
“The two sides agreed to undertake joint inspection of the China-Nepal boundary. The two sides agreed to bring into force the Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Nepal on the Boundary Management System as soon as possible,” it said.
The two countries have, in the past, spoken of management of the boundary but this is perhaps the first time they have agreed to joint inspection.
The BBC had last year quoted a leaked Nepal government report accusing China of encroaching into Nepal along the two countries’ shared border. It was the first time there were official claims from Nepal of Chinese interference in its territory, the report had said.
The report was commissioned last September following claims that China has been trespassing in the district of Humla, in the far west of Nepal. China’s embassy in Kathmandu had denied there was any encroachment even as China’s state-run Global Times had termed the report as a “smear campaign.”
The joint statement said the two sides agreed to continue consultations on the protocol between the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Home Affairs of Nepal on the Establishment of a Boundary Contact System at Three Levels, so as to elevate the level of border management and cooperation between the two countries.
The two sides also reiterated their commitment to respecting and accommodating each other’s concerns and core interests, the joint statement said.
“The Nepali side reiterated its firm commitment to the one-China principle,” it says, adding that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory and that the Nepali side is against “Taiwan independence.”
China views Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mainland, even by force.
The Nepali side also reiterated that Tibet affairs are China’s internal affairs and that it will never allow any separatist activities against China on Nepal’s soil, according to the joint statement.
On its part, China said that “it firmly supports Nepal in upholding its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and respects and supports Nepal’s independent choice of social system and development path that suits its national conditions.”
The two sides maintained that law enforcement cooperation is of great significance to the security of the two countries and agreed to expedite the ratification of the China-Nepal Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.
The joint statement also highlighted the number of infrastructure projects connecting Nepal and China through Tibet. This includes the cross-border railway from Lhasa to Kathmandu for which China has undertaken a feasibility study.
In his talks with Prachanda, Xi called for China to boost border infrastructure to end Nepal’s land-locked status, meaning dependence on India. As a land-locked country, much of Nepal’s imports go through India. China wants to weigh in to reduce Nepal’s dependence on India as part of efforts to expand its own influence.
The two sides agreed to continue to implement the signed cooperation documents concerning transit transport and utilisation of highways in China to help turn Nepal from a land-locked country to a land-linked country, the joint statement said.
The two sides expressed satisfaction over the progress of the feasibility study of the Jilong / Keyrung-Kathmandu Cross-Border Railway, and planned to hold the 8th Working Meeting on China-Nepal Railway Cooperation as early as possible, it said.
The Chinese side agreed to positively consider the request made by the Nepali side for supplying grid power to electrify northern remote villages of Nepal from Xizang Autonomous Region of China, and take overall consideration of providing equipment or technology on commercial terms, it said.
Nepal pledged to provide a pair of Ek Singhe Gaida (unicorn rhino) to China as a gift from the Government and people of Nepal to the Government and people of China, as a symbol for the long-lasting friendship between the two countries, it said.

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