Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 30
China discussed the possibility of resuming joint military training and cooperation with Nepal during the visit of Chinese Defence Minister Gen Wei Fenghe’s visit to Kathmandu.
Gen Fei offered firm support to Nepal to safeguard its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, the Chinese Defence Ministry said here on Monday.
Nepal shares borders with three countries — India, China and Bhutan.
The visit comes within days of Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s visit to Kathmandu and three weeks after Indian Army Chief MM Naravane was in Nepal.
However, while being open to military cooperation, Nepal did not appear to have crossed an Indian red line on discussing trade in military equipment.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement, in this respect, said Wei told Nepalese leaders that China would continue to keep close communications with the Nepalese side and provide support and assistance for the military development of Nepal, and make more contributions to the benefits of both people and regional peace and stability.
He also held bilateral talks with Nepal Army Chief Gen Thapa.
This is the highest visit from China after October last year’s President Xi Jinping’s two-day state visit.
On the political side, there was a meeting of minds as the Chinese Defence Minister appreciated Nepal for pursuing the ‘One-China’ policy during a meeting with Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
China and India are locked in a shadowy political contest in the corridors of power in Kathmandu. China’s ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi has been playing a prominent role in healing the rifts in the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) while India has the Nepal Congress in its corner as well as some Madheshi parties and a large part of its bureaucracy.