Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected to visit Nepal next week to push Beijing's ambitious multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the Himalayan nation, according to a media report on Wednesday.
Nepal's Foreign Ministry is yet to make an official announcement, but according to sources, Wang will be on a two-day visit, where he will try to ink at least two projects with the Nepal government, the Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.
A pet initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, BRI was launched in 2013 to fund infrastructure projects across the world, taking advantage of China’s massive USD 3.21 trillion forex reserves to further Beijing’s global influence.
Although Nepal and China signed the MoU under the BRI five years ago, not a single project under the initiative has taken off in Nepal so far. Interestingly, the Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit comes nearly a month after Nepal’s Parliament had endorsed the US-backed Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
The USD 500 million infrastructure grants programme was approved by Parliament after much discussion and alleged intervention by China against the American-funded project.
Sewa Lamsal, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying by the local media here that the ministry is currently busy preparing an agenda for the high-level meetings with the Chinese Foreign Minister. “Once the consultations are completed, we will officially announce the agenda and the date of the visit,” The Kathmandu Post has quoted Lamsal as saying.