China on Thursday played down the significance of the visit of a top official of the ruling Communist Party of China to Nepal to unite the warring factions of the Nepal Communist Party, saying the Chinese delegation’s talks focused on enhancing inter-party interactions.
The high-level Chinese delegation led by Vice Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Guo Yezhou visited Nepal this week and held separate talks with top leaders of the warring factions of the ruling party to patch up differences between them.
The Chinese delegation returned home on Wednesday after concluding its four-day visit to Kathmandu while the political crisis continued in Nepal.
Asked to disclose the outcome of Guo’s visit at a media briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin skirted any references to the present political crisis in Nepal and China’s efforts to bring about a rapprochement between Nepal’s feuding leaders.
Wang said the Chinese delegation met the leaders of both the ruling party and the opposition in Nepal and exchanged views on conducting inter-party interactions and mutual learning, advancing practical Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation and other issues of mutual concern.
“The Nepalese side congratulated the CPC on the upcoming 100th anniversary of its founding and expressed willingness to deepen traditional friendship,” Wang said.
Nepal plunged into a political crisis after Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, known for his pro-Beijing leanings, in a surprise move, recommended dissolving the 275-member House on December 20, amidst a tussle for power with former premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”.
Acting on Oli’s recommendation, President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House the same day and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10, sparking protests from a large section of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Prachanda, also a co-chair of the ruling party.
The Chinese delegation held talks with President Bhandari, Prime Minister Oli, NCP chairs “Prachanda” and Madhav Nepal, former prime minister Jhana Nath Khanal and leader of the Janata Samajbadi Party Baburam Bhattarai.
During his meetings with Oli and Prachanda, the Chinese leader is learnt to have told them to make efforts for reunification as the split in the largest communist party of Nepal will weaken communist movement in South Asia, according to a senior leader of Prachanda-led faction of the NCP.
The Chinese delegation has suggested two possible solutions to resolve the current political crisis in Nepal, a senior NCP said in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
Under “Plan A”, the dissolved House could be reinstated through the Supreme Court verdict followed by re-unification of the two factions, he said on condition of anonymity.
The Chinese leader has advised the senior NCP leaders to give alternative to Prime Minister Oli if the Parliament gets reinstated.
If the first option is not workable then the “Plan B” would be to contest the mid-term election through electoral alliance among all the communist forces of Nepal, the NCP leader added.
The Chinese team also met main opposition Nepali Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba and discussed the latest political developments in the country.
China’s political profile in Nepal has been on the rise in recent years with billions of dollars of investments under its multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, including the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network.