Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is arriving in Kathmandu on December 20 on a three-day visit, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said on Tuesday. “After the visit of the Chinese Premier, I will visit China,” PM Bhattarai told a select group of journalists. Wen will be the highest-ranking official to visit from Nepal’s immediate neighbours—India and China—since 2001. Earlier, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji visited Nepal in 2001 and Chinese President Jiang Zemin in 1996.
However, Wen’s detailed itinerary is in the process of finalisation and Nepali officials have begun consultation to prepare agendas to be raised during the Chinese Premier’s visit.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha is scheduled to visit Beijing on November 24-29 to make preparation for the visit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has started groundwork for the visit of the Chinese PM.
MoFA has called a high-level meeting of various line ministries on Wednesday morning. Secretaries from the ministries of Home, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Finance, Culture, Commerce, and representatives from the Department of Survey will attend the meeting to be chaired by DPM Shrestha.
“The meeting will identify possible areas of cooperation between Nepal and China and that it will pave the way for us to set our agenda,” a senior MoFA official said.
During Wen’s visit, Nepal is likely to seek Chinese assistance on building infrastructural projects, construction of big hydropower projects, and assistance to Nepali security agencies through the ministries of Home and Defence. The issue of signing a new cultural agreement with Nepal, finalising the joint border maps for signing the next boundary protocol, more trade facilitation and reducing trade imbalance with China could also figure in the meeting.