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Loan component makes China’s BRI a complicated issue: experts

The closure of the Nepal-China border since 2020 has impacted Kathmandu’s trade and economy with China, experts said, raising questions about the geopolitical and strategic interest of the economic benefits of the two countries through the Himalayan cross-border multidimensional connectivity network.

At a seminar organized by the Center for Social Inclusion and Federalism on the BRI and China-Nepal relations in Kathmandu on Thursday, experts questioned whether the China-Nepal relationship is based on friendship or simply on a business partner, Khabar Hub reported.

According to the outlet, no less than 80 participants attended the event, including diplomats, bureaucrats, journalists and reporters, as well as academics from various fields.

The seminar was organized at the time of the imminent visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

During the seminar, three major themes were addressed by three separate panels.

Topics include BRI and geopolitics: risks and opportunities, cross-border relations between Nepal and China, and trade, transit and transport between Nepal and China. Ajaya Bhadra Khanal, Arpan Gelal and Shraddha Ghimire respectively presented the results of their research on the topics.

The first panel highlighted the impacts of the resulting great power rivalry on Nepal and viewed the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the same light.

Additionally, the panel discussed the contrasting models of diplomacy practiced by Washington and Beijing and their dislikes for each other regarding the MCC and the BRI, according to Khabar Hub.

Foreign Minister Wang is expected to hold bilateral talks with his Nepalese counterpart, Dr. Narayan Khadka, and is also expected to hold talks with various key leaders including President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and former Prime Ministers and key leaders KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa. Kamal Dahal “Prachanda,” the Nepalese Foreign Ministry press release said.

Nepal has seen growing discontent and distrust among the population against Chinese projects and investments in the country, with recent large-scale protests against the Belt and Road (BRI) project in Jhapa district, eastern Nepal.

Chinese officials say Wang’s main goal in Kathmandu is to reassess Beijing’s geopolitical and security challenges, as China no longer feels safe in Nepal.

“The implementation of BRI projects in Nepal is important for Beijing,” says a second Kathmandu-based Chinese official who has long been the liaison between Kathmandu and Beijing. He also spoke on condition of anonymity. “But this time, Beijing is more concerned about security issues stemming from the pact’s approval,”

During his visit, Foreign Minister Wang will also provide an update on the political climate in Kathmandu, The Annapurna Express reported.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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