Kathmandu, Oct. 13: President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, who arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday evening on a two-day State visit, said Nepal and China had nothing but friendship. “We have model friendship in the world, and there is no issue between the two countries but friendship,” he said while speaking at the State Banquet organised by President Bidya Devi Bhandari in his honour at Soaltee Hotel. President Xi said that he and his Nepali counterpart Bhandari had agreed to develop relations, friendship and partnership that would help in development and prosperity for many generations to come. He assured that more reliable and easier connectivity facility between the two countries would be constructed in the near future. Maintaining that China would expedite the development of Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity infrastructure, he said, “We want to support Nepal in realising its dream to become a land-linked country from the landlocked country.” He announced that China will provide support in conducting the feasibility study of Keyrung-Kathmandu railway, upgrading the Arniko Highway and constructing Keyrung-Kathmandu tunnel way. President Xi expressed his commitment to further support in the post-quake reconstruction, promoting Visit Nepal Year 2020, support education sector and urban development in the country. He is happy that the leadership of both the countries together made it possible to develop and implement a new framework of friendship and plans. “I am hopeful that there will be more cooperation between Nepal and China at multilateral platforms,” he said. According to Xi, Buddhism has become a local religion in China, and many Chinese want to visit Nepal and Lumbini, and in future there will be more religious exchanges. He also said that China was ever ready to conserve Sagarmatha region and support Nepal’s genuine demands regarding the issue of climate change. President Xi announced a support of 3.5 billion RMB to be provided between 2020 to 2022 for uplifting the living standard of the Nepali people. President Bhandari, in her welcome remarks, appreciated China for its support in Nepal’s development efforts and cooperation at the international platforms. “Nepal and China have been standing together and extending cooperation in multilateral platform for peace, stability and development,” she said. Geographically Nepal and China are close friends while history and culture have helped in developing cordial relations, she said. “At this juncture, Nepal wants to express its commitment to taking the bilateral relations to a newer height.” She reiterated Nepal’s commitment to ‘One China Policy’ and not allowing any force to use Nepali land against China. President Bhandari said that the land of Lord Buddha expected Chinese support in developing Lumbini as a centre of world peace, and infrastructure improvement for cross-border connectivity. “Nepali people want to see Rasuwagadhi-Kathmandu-Lumbini railway connectivity being happened,” she said. According to her, since Nepal’s internal resources are not sufficient to meet the ambition to become a middle-income country by 2030, it needs more foreign investment. The country wants Chinese investment in the productive sectors like infrastructure, energy and tourism, she said. “The government will assure security to the investment made in Nepal,” President Bhandari said. She also said that Nepal expected support of the Chinese government in Visit Nepal Year 2020, conserving mountain ecology and combating the impact of climate change. She informed President Xi that the government was holding an international forum ‘Sagarmatha Sambad’ and said Nepal expected high-level participation from China. Nepal is organising ‘Sagarmatha Sambad’ – an international dialogue, in March 2020, and the main agenda of the first summit would be climate change. As the global warming has created alarming situation in the mountains and plains equally, and the country wants to draw the attention to the climate change impacts on Himalayas, environment and people, the first Sambad will be focused on the same theme. President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Saturday welcomed her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping upon his arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport. Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Chairman of the National Assembly Ganesh Prasad Timilsina, Deputy Prime Ministers, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, ministers, head of the constitutional bodies and other high-level government officials accompanied President Bhandari to welcome Chinese President Xi at the Tribhuvan International Airport. President Bhandari had also introduced the DPMs and ministers to her Chinese counterpart. Later in the evening, the two presidents held a bilateral meeting at Sheetal Niwas and deliberated on the issues of bilateral concerns and Nepal-China relations. During the bilateral meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Home Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister, Women, Children and Senior Citizens Minister, Minister for Water Supply and high level officials of Nepal and Chinese governments were present. Leader of the main opposition party Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba met President Xi at Soaltee Hotel. President Bhandari organised a state banquet in Xi’s honour where he and Chinese delegation were served with typical Nepali delicacies. The Air China plane carrying him from Chennai, India, landed at the TIA at about
16:45 in the afternoon. A battalion of Nepal Army presented a guard of honour to the visiting guest, and various cultural shows, including exhibits from all seven States, were presented at the airport and along the route to Soaltee Hotel. Thousands people stood by the road and waved the national flags of Nepal and China to welcome the Chinese President. The visit by a Chinese president is taking place in an interval of 23 years. Earlier, Jiang Zemin had visited Nepal in 1996. Nepal long wanted to have top level Chinese visit, especially in an effort to diversify its sickening international trade and obtain the latter’s expertise and economic support in infrastructure, primarily connectivity and energy. The country wants cross-border road and railway connectivity with China, more Chinese investment and tourists to make the Visit Nepal Year 2020 a success in the short term and to achieve the national aspiration of ‘Prosperous Nepal, happy Nepali’.