Nepal and China on Friday signed a framework agreement on China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, days ahead of a summit in Beijing where an ambitious plan to build a modern-day Silk Road trade routes and lead a new era of globalisation would be unveiled.
Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi and Chinese Ambassador Yu Hong signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of their respective governments at a function organised at Foreign Ministry in Kathmandu.
The signing ceremony was jointly witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister for Finance Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Minister for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat.
Addressing the function, Foreign Minister Mahat hailed the agreement as a major step in Nepal-China relations. “Road and railway connectivity is very important for us and we want investment in the same,” said Minister Mahat.
Saying that Nepal needs huge foreign investment, he hoped that Nepal will benefit from the agreement.
A press statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) stated that the major thrust of the MoU is to promote mutually beneficial cooperation between Nepal and China in various fields such as economy, environment, technology and culture adding that the agreement aims to promote people-to-people exchanges of different levels between the two countries..
“The MoU aims at promoting cooperation on promoting connectivity of facilities, trade connectivity, financial integration and connectivity of people,” read the statement, “The MoU seeks to strengthen cooperation in connectivity sectors including transit transport, logistic systems, transport network and related infrastructures development such as railway, road, civil aviation, power grid, information and communication.”
According to the MoFA statement, the OBOR framework agreement contains detailed framework for mutual cooperation in line with the MoU signed between the Governments of Nepal and China in December 2014.
A decision to sign the framework agreement on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s flagship initiative investing billions of dollars in infrastructure projects including railways, ports and power grids across Asia, Africa and Europe was taken by a Cabinet meeting on Monday after months of confusion and extended negotiations.