China offers security aid to Nepal

December 3rd, 2008 - 3:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Dec 3 (IANS) Twenty years after a standoff between India and Nepal over the latter’s decision to purchase arms from China, Kathmandu will get fresh security assistance from Beijing in the form of training and equipment, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi pledged Wednesday.Yang, leading a 10-member delegation on a three-day visit to Nepal, met Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav to express Beijing’s appreciation of Nepal’s refusal to allow anti-China activities on its soil and offered to step up assistance.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Yadav said China has promised the training and equipment necessary to strengthen security in Nepal.

The minister parried questions as to whether “equipment” also meant arms and ammunition, saying that the details would be worked out by the concerned channels.

The offer comes after a Chinese military delegation headed by Major General I. Huzeng of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army visited Nepal last month. On Saturday, a second Chinese military delegation under a lieutenant general will be visiting Kathmandu again.

In September, Nepali Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa “Badal” went to China when the Chinese government announced a military assistance of Nepali Rs.100 million ($1.55 million) without further disclosing what the aid would include.

Ironically, the ruling Maoist party created a furore about a year ago when the then Girija Prasad Koirala government received unspecified military assistance from India, saying Nepal did not need such aid at a time the communist insurrection had ended and the country was negotiating a peace process.

More Sino-Nepal high-level visits are in the offing in 2009, with Prachanda receiving an invitation from Yang to visit Beijing at a mutually convenient date.

In August, Prachanda created a controversy after he chose to depart from tradition and make China his first port of call abroad since assuming office instead of India.

Yang also signed a technical and economic agreement with Yadav that earmarks 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) for a package that is yet to be worked out fully. In addition, Beijing is also ready with a soft loan assistance of nearly $200 million.

China has pledged to help further in building infrastructure for Nepal, consider extending the Lhasa railway till its boundary with Nepal, promote tourism, education aid for Nepali students and rectify the mounting Nepal-China trade deficit.

Nepal’s commitment is more political. Prachanda, whose government succeeded in putting out the anti-China protests by Tibetans that had started in March, has pledged to prevent anti-China activities on Nepal’s soil and support Beijing’s “One China” policy that considers Tibet and Taiwan to be inalienable parts of the Chinese republic.

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