KATHMANDU: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here on Saturday on a two-day state visit, becoming the first head of the Communist nation to visit Nepal in 23 years during which the two countries are expected to sign a number of agreements, including an extradition treaty.
Xi, who arrived here after a two day informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was received by Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli at the Kathmandu International Airport and was offered a ceremonial guard of honour by the Nepal Army.
President Bhandari and Prime Minister Oli reached the airport’s VVIP lawn to extend warm welcome to the visiting Chinese leader, a senior official said.
Xi will meet his Nepalese counterpart President Bhandari in the evening at her official residence Shital Niwas.
He is also scheduled to meet the main Opposition Nepali Congress leader, Sher Bahadur Deuba in the evening before joining the banquet being hosted by the Nepal President at Hotel Soaltee, where Xi would spend his Saturday night.
“President Xi will meet Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and co-chairman of ruling Nepal Communist Party Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” on Sunday. There will be formal dialogue between the Nepalese delegation led by Prime Minister Oli and Chinese delegation led by president Xi at Singhdurbar secretariat,” the official said.
During the meeting the two sides are expected to ink a number of agreements and MoUs, including an extradition treaty, official sources said.
The draft of the treaty, finalised by officials from Nepal and China, will be discussed as per the spirit of the statement issued jointly by the two countries during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s China visit in June last year, officials said.
They, however, said an agreement is unlikely, The Kathmandu Post reported.
Officials familiar with the matter said that the Nepali side had held several rounds of negotiations with a Chinese team that had come to Nepal for the purpose, the paper reported.
“The treaty is a priority for both the Nepali and Chinese sides,” said an official at the Law Ministry on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to speak on the matter.
China accuses the Dalai Lama as a “splittist” working for Tibetan independence.
Beijing sent troops into remote, mountainous Tibet in 1950 in what it officially terms a peaceful liberation and has ruled there with an iron fist ever since. The Dalai Lama fled to India in early 1959 after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule.
Nepal shares a long border with Tibet and is home to around 20,000 Tibetan exiles. Every year some 2,500 Tibetans illegally enter Nepal crossing Tibetan border on their way to Dharamshala to meet the 84-year-old Dalai Lama.
Xi is visiting Nepal after a two day informal visit to India, where he and Prime Minister Modi had discussions on wide ranging issues, including efforts to set up a new mechanism for matters relating to trade and investment.
They felt the two countries should cooperate on important regional and global issues.
Xi has said that China is ready to take concrete measures to reduce trade deficit, with India.
He will leave Kathmandu on Sunday afternoon wrapping up his two day state visit.