Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Nepal today to discuss Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects.
Wang’s visit has been scheduled almost a month after the lower house of parliament of Nepal ratified the $500 million Millenium Challenge Corporation Compact (MCC) with a 12-point declaration despite the public and Chinese concern. China is discontent with the MCC for its part of the Indo-Pacific strategy that affirms the US’s intent to encircle China. Nepal had disapproved of this US strategy earlier. The slow progress in its Belt and Road initiative agreement with Nepal in 2017 is of equal concern for China.
Despite Chinese reservations over the MCC, in the interest of the bilateral land-linking projects, expect the two countries to reach an agreement on a selection and even signing of at least two new projects under BRI. Expect progress in the transnational railway projects that link Kerung, Tibet to Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal. This visit will mark the full-fledged reopening of the key northern border trading points of Nepal that China has closed since the pandemic and will stimulate economic growth and increase trade between the two countries.
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Promod is an Analyst on the Analysis team.