The government of Nepal has endorsed two proposals related to the upcoming visit of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to China.A Cabinet meeting on Sunday approved the proposal of the Chinese government to repair two Friendship Bridges connecting Nepal with the northern neighbour.
The government also authorised the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation to sign various projects to be agreed with the Chinese side during PM Oli’s visit scheduled to begin on June 19. A proposal named ‘Nepal-China Cooperation on Energy Sector’ will be signed during the visit. According to officials privy to the developments, some specific projects will also be signed under the framework.
Sources said some hydroelectricity projects and cross-border transmission lines are identified in the proposal. Once negotiations with the Chinese side complete, an agreement will be reached during the PM’s visit.
The ministry has forwarded several projects to the foreign and finance ministries for negotiation with China. Forming a bilateral dialogue mechanism on energy cooperation at the secretary and joint-secretary levels is also on the agenda.
According to government Spokesperson Gokul Baskota, the border bridges will be funded by China. Beijing will also provide technical support to the bridges in Tatopani and Rasuwa districts.The decision to reconstruct the bridge that connects Tatopani in Sindhupalchok with Khasa in Tibet has raised hopes for early reopening of the border point. The Tatopani border port has remained dysfunctional since the 2015 earthquake.
In the first week of May, the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board signed an agreement with China to resume construction of the dry port in Tatopani. A Chinese company, which has already started construction, is expected to complete the dry port by April 2019 at a cost of RMB 147 million. China will also upgrade the Kodari Highway later.
In a meeting with the delegation of National Business Association on Saturday, Gyawali said the government would, during PM Oli’s visit, create an environment conducive to expansion of trade between the two countries.