Chinese Foreign Minister to visit Nepal to push Beijing's agenda in Kathmandu

China received a major setback after Nepal ratified the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact, a grant of USD 500 million developmental assistance from the US to Kathmandu. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be visiting Nepal to push Beijing's agenda in Kathmandu. Former Nepali Ambassador to China Mahesh Maskey has said that the forthcoming visit of Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Nepal would send a message that China will not back down no matter how much pressure India and other Western countries mount on her, reported People's Review. Speaking at a programme organized in Kathmandu on Saturday, former ambassador Maskey said that China was not in a position to back down despite any siege attempt. "Whether it's the Indo-Pacific, the QUAD or the defense pact with India or the G-7's direct blockade of China, China is not going to back down," he said, reported People's Review. The foreign ministry in Beijing has apparently concluded in its review that China's presence in Nepal is weakening. President Xi Jinping is sending Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Kathmandu to explore ways to turn things around, says the Chinese official, reported Shambhu Kattel, writing in The Annapurna Express (ApEx). China decided to send its foreign minister to Kathmandu while the Chinese Communist Party was holding its Annual National People's Congress, suggesting an unusual level of urgency at the unfolding events in Nepal.

Unlike what has been reported in sections of Nepali media, Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Chinese official's ApEx spoke to say Wang's upcoming visit is both unplanned and unprecedented. Chinese officials say Wang's main agenda in Kathmandu is to reassess Beijing's geopolitical and security challenges, as China no longer feels secure in Nepal. "Implementation of the BRI projects in Nepal is important for Beijing," says a second Kathmandu-based Chinese official who has long liaised between Kathmandu and Beijing. He was also speaking on the condition of anonymity. "But this time Beijing is more worried about the security challenges emanating from the compact's approval," During his visit, Foreign Minister Wang will also take stock of the political climate in Kathmandu, reported ApEx. A Chinese official associated with China's diplomatic corps in Kathmandu told ApEx that in the lead up to the compact's endorsement, there was a lack of coordination among the Chinese agencies handling Nepal. Also speaking anonymously, he said the communication gap between Beijing and the Chinese Embassy was also growing. Nepal's federal parliament did ratify the compact, as the Americans wished, but in the run-up to ratification, Beijing tried mighty hard to stop it. It sees the USD 500 million development grant to Nepal as a part of America's strategy to encircle China.