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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Prachanda ready for second China trip

December 8, 2008

The Times of India
3 Dec 2008
Nepal's first Maoist prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” is expected to visit Beijing early next year, marking an unprecedented bonhomie in Nepal-China ties. It would be his second visit to the communist republic within six months of assuming visit, a diplomatic feat unparalleled by any of his predecessors.
The invitation came on Wednesday from visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who along with a 10-member delegation held talks with Prachanda and Nepal’s Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav. Soon after he leaves Kathmandu for Myanmar Thursday, a military delegation from China will arrive Saturday, the second such delegation within a fortnight.
The dragon is trying to shore up its bounty to Nepal, especially in the field of security. India’s monopoly in supplying arms and ammunition as well as aircraft to Nepal at a 70 percent subsidy stopped in 2005, after king Gyanendra seized absolute power with the backing of the army.
Since then, Beijing had stepped into the breach, offering guns, ammunition and aircraft to the royal regime as well as military training. Nepal’s parliament was recently rocked by a controversy over the Chinese military training with the opposition Nepali Congress (NC) alleging that the Maoists were trying to send the chief of their guerrilla People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to China for the training, that was intended only for senior army officers who could one day become the army chief.
The NC fears that once Nand Kishore Pun “Pasang”, the current PLA chief, receives that training in China, he will be pushed by the Maoists as the next chief of the state army.
Both governments however remained tightlipped about the nature of security assistance that Yang has offered to Nepal. Yadav said it would comprise training and “equipment”, without specifying its nature.
In September, China had offered a moderate military assistance of NRS 100 million when Nepal’s Maoist defence minister Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal visited Beijing. Last month, Beijing had sent a military delegation to Kathmandu headed by Major General I Guzeng.
Besides security assistance, China is also offering technical and economic cooperation. Yadav and Yang signed a technical and economic cooperation agreement worth 100 million yuan that would be spent on projects identified by Nepal.
Beijing wants to develop infrastructure in Nepal, especially roads, communication and tourism. It wants to build better roads between Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region under its control to boost trade and tourism and correct the imbalance in its trade with Nepal.
The communist republic has also reiterated that it would consider Nepal’s request to extend the Lhasa railway to Nepal’s border, which could lay the foundation of a trans-himalayan railway connecting China with India via Nepal.
The gifts however come with a price tag. Concerned at the recent meeting of exiled Tibetan leaders in Dharamshala and proposals for a new movement for Tibetan independence from China, Beijing is trying to cement Nepal’s allegiance to its One China policy, that considers Tibet and Taiwan to be integral and inalienable parts of the Chinese republic.
The Prachanda government has also assured Yang that it would not allow anti-China protests on its soil. It’s a promise that the Maoist government has been able to keep better than the previous Girija Prasad Koirala government and the Tibetan protests that drew the attention of the world since March have died down completely.
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