China to provide 200m yuan to support peace process; Wen leaves for Qatar
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 14, 2012
KATHMANDU, Jan 14: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and his visiting Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao signed an eight-point bilateral agreement during the talks held at the PM´s office in Singha Durbar on Saturday.
During the luncheon held after the talks, Wen announced that China would provide 200 million yuan in assistance to Nepal in the current fiscal year with intent to support Nepal´s peace process, our correspondent Kiran Chapagainreported.
On the occasion, Wen also pledged to provide 750 million yuan in concessional loan to Nepal in the next three years. The talks chiefly dwelt on economic issues of bilateral cooperation and other issues related to cultural exchange and infrastructural development.
Wen has left Kathmandu for Qatar after completing his four-and a-half hours trip to Nepal. PM Bhattarai and other high government officials saw him off at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayankaji Shrestha is addressing a press meet on Wen´s Nepal visit at the VIP lounge at the TIA.
Earlier in the day, Wen had arrived in Kathmandu, almost an hour behind schedule, in a special aircraft at 11:50 am. PM Bhattarai, Speaker Subash Nembang and other high government officials received Wen at the VVIP lounge at the airport. Nineteen gunshots were fired in honor of the Chinese premier.
Before wrapping up his visit, Wen called on President Dr Ram Baran Yadav at the latter´s official residence in Maharajgunj. Prior to this, he attended the official luncheon hosted by PM Bhattarai in Singha Durbar. UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and a very few government ministers also attended the function.
Wen’s visit is the first by a Chinese premier since the then premier Zhu Rongji’s Nepal trip in May 2001. Before that, Chinese President Jiang Zemin had paid a visit to Nepal back in 1996.
Wen was earlier scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu on a three-day official visit on December 20 but the visit was postponed at the eleventh hour. No clear reason was assigned for the abrupt act, triggering a range of speculations including security concerns and China’s displeasure over an early disclosure of Wen’s visit date as being reasons for the postponement of the much-hyped trip.
However, Chinese ambassador to Nepal Yang Haulan, later on, had maintained that Wen’s planned trip had to be put off due to the Chinese premier’s busy schedule, in particular his preoccupation with fiscal issues back home.
A meeting of the Council of Ministers this morning had finalized the agenda for talks during Wen´s brief visit to Nepal. The agenda would chiefly focus on economic issues of bilateral relations between Nepal and China, Finance Minister Barshaman Pun had said after the meeting, adding that China would be requested to increase its annual aid to Nepal from 100 million Yuan to 200 million Yuan.
During Wen´s visit, discussion would be held on measures to be taken to promote cultural exchanges with necessary reforms in the existing agreements between the two neighbors , Pun had informed
Likewise, talks with visiting Chinese premier would be held for increased Chinese cooperation in diverse fields including Nepal´s hydro power generation and infrastructure development and financial assistance to the Armed Police Force Nepal, Pun had added in what was the first instance any government minister or official expressly spoke about Wen´s visit, which had been kept secret both in Nepal and China.
Wen´s arrival delayed
The timing of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s arrival in Kathmandu has been delayed by one hour, our correspondent Kiran Chapagain said quoting a highly placed government source. It is however not clear for what reasons the arrival has been delayed. Wen’s special aircraft was scheduled to land at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu at 11 am Saturday. Wen is coming to Kathmandu on a five-hour visit to Nepal. He is leaving for Qatar the same evening.
Journalists´ entry to Singha Durbar restricted
According to our correspondent Kiran Chapagain, journalists from private media houses have been barred from entering Singha Durbar to cover the news. The authorities have, however, allowed entry to the journalists from state-run media agencies.
Extraordinary security measures at TIA
Our correspondent Kosh Raj Koirala has reported that security measures have been tightened at the TIA, the only international airport, in Kathmandu. A large number of security personnel have been deployed at and around the airport ahead of Wen´s arrival in Kathmandu.
Armed police personnel have been keeping vigil from rooftops of the houses near the TIA. Security check has been stepped up at various points in the neighborhood the airport. Reporters have been barred from entering the TIA. Only a limited number of photo and TV journalists have been allowed in the the airport, our photojournalist Bijay Rai told over phone.
Several Tibetan exiles detained
According to our correspondent Shreejana Shrestha, several Tibetan exiles have been detained from various locations in the city for security reasons. All Tibetans´ tickets for domestic flights from the airport were cancelled. Security has been beefed up in the areas near the Chinese embassy and China´s consular office in Hattisar considering possible protest by Tibetan exiles. Nepal is home to some 25, 000 Tibetan exiles.