KATHMANDU: Nepal government has intensified preparations to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is likely to arrive in Kathmandu on a state visit, in mid-October.
Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi is scheduled to arrive in Nepal on Sunday, according to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s press advisor Kundan Aryal.
“Minister Wang Yi is coming to Nepal to prepare the grounds for President Xi’s visit,” he added.
Minister Wang will visit Nepal at the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali.
He is attending Saturday’s Pakistan-Afghanistan-China trilateral meeting in Pakistan.
President Xi is expected to embark on a state visit to Nepal in mid-October at a time when China is marking the 70th anniversary of the triumph of Communism in China, said Aryal.
It is said that President Xi will pay an official visit to Nepal on his way back from India, after attending the 2nd informal summit between the top leaders of India and China, which is scheduled to take place in Tamil Nadu, on October 11-13.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), however, has not officially confirmed Xi’s visit to Nepal.
When asked about the media report of President’s Xi visit to Nepal, Bharat Raj Poudyal, spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said he had no idea about the visit.
The ministry would have made an official announcement, had it got such information, he added.
In Beijing, a senior official at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), had, on August 26, hinted that President Xi Jinping was likely to embark on Nepal visit soon.
When a team of Nepali journalists, on a visit of Beijing, inquired about the Chinese President’s State visit to Nepal,
the senior official said that President Xi owed Nepal a visit and he was looking forward to an early visit. “President Xi attached great importance to visiting Nepal and would pay a visit at a convenient time,” the official said as part of a casual interaction.
During the recent state visit of President Bidya Devi Bhandari to China, the Presidents Xi and Bhandari had discussed about President Xi’s visit to Nepal, the official said.
“Nepal was always in the mind of President Xi whenever he thinks of any foreign visit, especially of the South Asian countries,” he added.
“The Chinese side is figuring out a convenient time for the visit of President Xi,” the official further added. President Xi has already paid official visits to most of the South Asian countries. President Xi was expected to pay his maiden visit to Nepal in 2016 but it was cancelled later.
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