KATHMANDU, April 14: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Sunday flew off on a week long visit to China fuelling speculations back home as the visit coincides with the recent leadership change in the northern neighboring country.
Dahal´s visit is the first by a Nepali leader following the change of leadership in China.
So what would be the significance of Dahal´s visit? Can Dahal, who said that his visit has been planned with the sole motive of bringing in Chinese investments in Nepal, be actually believed? And, why was it that China chose to invite Dahal immediately after the change of leadership?
“China´s new leadership might have recognized our party as the new force that can ensure political stability in Nepal. The movement launched by our party that brought about the fall of monarchy in Nepal might have reinforced China´s belief in our party that it is the only force in the country that can be trusted,” said Ram Karki, chief of the international department of the UCPN (Maoist). According to Karki, Dahal´s visit will have a positive impact on current Nepali politics.
Before flying off to China, Dahal, speaking to media persons at the Tribhuvan International Airport said that his visit would focus on political and economic instability in Nepal.
Whether Dahal would actually succeed bringing home Chinese investment is an issue that we will have to wait and see. “Nepal is one of the countries prioritized by China but that doesn´t mean that Dahal´s visit is politically motivated. So, we should wait to see the repercussions of his visit to China,” said Tanka Karki, former ambassador of Nepal to China. He also said that Dahal´s visit would help strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries. “Dahal´s visit can play a positive role in bringing about a policy shift on how China views Nepal and Chinese foreign investment.”
The reason for Nepal to top the list of priority countries for China is the issue of around 25,000 Tibetan refugees taking shelter in Nepal. China does not want Nepali soil to be used by Tibetan refugees against the Chinese interests. Increase in anti-China activities by Chinese refugees since 2008 must also have drawn China´s concerns in Nepal.
“It is the increased activities of Tibetan refugees in Nepal that might have placed Nepal in China´s list of priority countries,” added Tanka Karki.
China wants regional peace. So, it wants to maintain good relations with its neighboring countries, said Karki.
“I think, his visit will be helpful in seeking commitment of the new leadership in China toward stability and economic development in Nepal,” said Tanka Karki.
This is Dahal´s third visit to China. His first while he was the prime minister courted controversy for his remarks that he would start his foreign visits from India. Interestingly, Baburam Bhattarai did not get a chance to visit China.