China’s third-ranked leader Li Zhanshu holds talks with his Nepali counterparts Sharma Oli, Prachanda

Li Zhanshu arrived in Nepal on a three-day visit on September 12 at the invitation of Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota.

Li Zhanshu arrived in Nepal on a three-day visit on September 12 at the invitation of Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota.

Li Zhanshu, the head of China’s legislature and the third-ranked leader in the country’s political hierarchy, on September 13 held talks with Nepal’s top political leaders, including former Prime Ministers K. P. Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” and discussed bilateral ties and other issues of mutual interest.

Li, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress – China’s Parliament, arrived in Nepal on a three-day visit on September 12 at the invitation of Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota.

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Li held talks with CPN-UML chairman Oli at the Federal Parliament building in Kathmandu and during the meeting the two leaders discussed various issues of mutual interest, according to party sources.

Mr. Oli was accompanied by other leaders, including Ashta Laxmi Shakya, Subhas Nemwang and Rajan Bhattarai.

“Li also met CPN-Maoist Centre chairman Prachanda during which matters relating to bilateral interest and mutual concern were discussed,” party sources said.

Other leaders of the party, including vice-chairman Krishna Bahadur Mahara, general secretary Dev Gurung, Pampha Bhushal and Shakti Basnet, were also present on the occasion. On Monday, Li and Speaker Sapkota held wide-ranging talks following which a six-point Memorandum of Understanding was inked between the Parliament of Nepal and the Chinese People’s Congress on inter-Parliamentary cooperation.

During delegation-level talks, the two leaders expressed happiness over the excellent state of bilateral relations and cooperation subsisting between Nepal and China and held discussions on various matters of mutual interests.

They also exchanged views on the importance of implementing connectivity infrastructures, including under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious initiative from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The BRI, an initiative launched by President Xi in 2013, is a massive infrastructure project that would stretch from East Asia to Europe and aimed at bolstering Beijing’s influence across the world.

The Chinese side assured that it will clear all containers destined to Nepal, which were halted for weeks on Nepal-China border point at Tatopani of Sindhupalchowk district, 100KM east of Kathmandu, at the earliest before the festive season in Nepal.

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“The six-point MoU signed between the two sides includes issues relating to the exchange of high-level visits, promoting goodwill and understanding, strengthening mutual assistance under the framework of regional and global organisations of the Parliament, giving importance to facilitating mutual benefits by means of enhancing inter-connectivity as per the agreements including the BRI,” sources said.

“The MoU will remain effective for five years but it will also continue to be in force as it is until either side writes to amend or cancel it,” they said.

Li is leading a 67-member delegation comprising officials from the People’s Congress, the Communist Party of China, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The Chinese leader is scheduled to meet Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Khadka and call on Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. He will also call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Wednesday.

He is scheduled to visit Bhaktapur to inspect the post earthquake restoration works before leaving Kathmandu wrapping up his three-day official visit on Thursday Morning.

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