KATHMANDU – Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ today said the implementation of the ‘Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)’ project would move ahead with priority.
At a seminar with the theme of ‘A Decade of BRI: Trade, Investment and Connectivity’ organised here on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the BRI by the Nepal-China Friendship Forum, the PM said the project is not a list of wishes, but it is worthy of implementation.
The government has a clear view on advancing development projects by selecting and implementing projects under the BRI, he said. The government wanted to advance development and prosperity at a speedy pace through the implementation of the BRI, he said, adding, “Questions have often been heard regarding the delay of the project.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and our system and infrastructural limitations are also blamed for this delay. However, Nepal wants to speed up development and prosperity through the BRI implementation.”
Saying that he was fully agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s statement that now Nepal would become a land linked country from a landlocked one, he said he was raising this issue with determination since a few decades.
“Now we must take collective initiatives to turn this strategy into reality. So, we will discuss in detail the financial investment model of such projects. We believe that the Chinese side will review its investment policy and adopt a policy of grants and assistances for Nepal in the context of some projects,” he said.
The unprecedented development of China, an exemplary nation to the world and a good neighbour and friend of Nepal, is both a great learning and opportunity for Nepal, he said. Nepal wants to realise speedy development, poverty alleviation and the concept of sustainable development and common prosperity put forward by China, through the implementation of the BRI, said the PM.
Now, Nepal is in need of big investments for infrastructure development, but there is no situation wherein the need cannot be achieved only through development aids received through traditional sources. The BRI would be an important resource for Nepal in the context that it needed more external capital to accelerate development activities, he said.
Although 1,000 billion USD have been invested through the BRI alone in the past 10 years according to available data, Nepal could not bring in relatively significantly investments, he said. He stressed the need for work at a fast pace by mobilising common mechanisms of both the sides according to the timetable.
Reiterating that Nepal is committed to the one-China principle, PM Dahal made it clear that Nepali territories will not be allowed to be used for anti-Chinese activities. “Nepal firmly is in favour of one-China policy since the past. We will remain committed to the one-China policy now and in the future too. Nepali territories will not be allowed to be used for anti-Chinese activities. This is the clear policy of the Government of Nepal.”
Thanking the Government of China for its valuable support in the economic and social development of Nepal, PM Dahal expressed the hope that Nepal-China relations based on the objectives and principles of the United Nations and the principles of Panchasheel were important for peace, stability and prosperity of the region, and we would continue to work to achieve the same objectives.
“I have made this issue clear to the Chinese leaders, the academic community and the business community. The Government of Nepal will take initiatives on the part of Nepal and remove policy and procedural obstacles,” he said, adding “The Chinese side should also play its role in promoting economic, social, cultural and people to people level relations with Nepal. There is a big possibility that the interests of both the countries can be promoted by expanding relations between us so both parties win. Let’s turn that possibility into full opportunities.”
Synthesising the achievements of the visit of Chinese President Xi to Nepal in 2019 when he had led the government and various bilateral visits that had taken place since then, he said Nepal is committed to advancing the BRI projects.
As the PM stated, the BRI brought by China represented the infrastructure and economic development projects in the 21st century. He maintained that the BRI has in a decade’s time put in investment in the inter-country world trade, investment and connectivity sectors.
Prime Minister Dahal expressed the confidence that the programme will play an important role in disseminating information on the multi-faceted aspects of BRI, the overarching concept of inclusive development based on the win-win principle by expanding connectivity among various regions, cultures and civilizations. Chinese President Xi Jinping had introduced the BRI in 2013.
“The conclusion drawn by this programme would be a crucial reference for both governments and the private sector as well in terms of addressing the common interests through the expansion of the trans-Himalayan multi-dimensional connectivity network between Nepal and China, of understanding our common efforts to achieve the common prosperity, of promoting collaboration between the governments and peoples of both nations for achieving appropriate objectives and of addressing the matters of mutual interest and concern as well as of the possibilities, priorities, role and expected outcome on both sides,” PM Dahal said.
He said he held talks and discussions with the Chinese President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang on all matters of bilateral interests and concern during his recent official visit to China, expressing the belief that the 13 various MoU and agreements reached in course of the visit as well as the understandings stated in the Joint Statement will play an important role in further strengthening the economic, social, cultural, political and the people’s level relations.
The PM said, “I am confident that my visit to China will help in developing further stronger understanding between the two countries at the highest political level and in achieving peace, stability and shared prosperity in this region. The results of all these agreements and the visit would be discernible after they go into the implementation phase.”
He shared that his visit has helped take the Nepal-China relations to a new height. “The collaboration of the Chinese side with Nepal’s private sector will be more intensive from the visit and it will help bring in more investment. I would also like to make it clear that the government is committed to support the private sector of Nepal to collaborate with the Chinese investors so that the people of both countries reap more and more benefit through expansion of investment and technology in areas of comparative advantage.