March 5, 2021

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Beijing sending a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party leader to Kathmandu amid political turmoil

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With the Nepal Communist Party unity falling apart, China is sending a vice minister of the Chinese Communist Party to Kathmandu in what is believed to be Beijing’s effort to assess the ground situation.

At least two Nepal Communist Party leaders confirmed to the Post that Guo Yezhou, vice-minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC), is arriving in Kathmandu on Sunday.

Leading a four-member team, Guo is scheduled to land in Kathmandu on Sunday morning on a regular China Southern Airlines flight, according to sources in both factions of the Nepal Communist Party.

Bishnu Rijal, Deputy Head of Department of Foreign Affairs of the Nepal Communist Party (Dahal-Nepal faction) said that the Chinese side has communicated about Gou’s visit to Kathmandu.

“I don’t have much detail to share with you at this point of time,” Rijal told the Post.

The Chinese embassy in Kathmandu did not respond to the Post’s multiple calls and messages.

Sources in the Nepal Communist Party said during his four-day stay in Kathmandu, he is scheduled to meetings with top leaders of both sides of the Nepal Communist Party.

The decision to dissolve the House has surprised the Chinese and they were also concerned about a series of visits from India in the past two months, one Standing Committee member who is aware of the Chinese position on Nepal, told the Post.

The Nepal Communist Party has been vertically split between the factions led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal who became the chairs of the party when it was formed in May 2018 with the merger between Oli’s UML and Dahal’s Maoist Centre.

Former CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal is with the Dahal faction now in the capacity of the party chair along with Dahal.

The split in the Nepal Communist Party came on Tuesday after Oli on Sunday decided to dissolve the House of Representatives.

Since then Chinese Ambassador Hou Yanqi, who in the past has played crucial roles in saving the unity whenever the party has been in crisis, has been busy holding a series of meetings in Kathmandu.

On Tuesday evening, hours after the party formally split, Hou called on President Bidya Devi Bhandari, who also has been involved in the Nepal Communist Party’s internal affairs. On Thursday, Hou met with Dahal and then on Friday, she held talks with Madhav Nepal. She has also held meetings with Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Barsha Man Pun.

According to sources, the ambassador enquired how the party reached the stage of implosion and if there is still room for reuniting the leaders and the future course if the House is not restored and elections fail to take place.

Chinese interest in the Nepal Communist Party has been quite apparent since the formation of the party, with many even believing that Beijing played a crucial role in bringing the two communist forces together.

The Chinese Communist Party and Nepal Communist Party were regularly engaged in training programmes. In September last year, the Nepal Communist Party had even organised a symposium, inviting some leaders from the Chinese Communist Party to Kathmandu to impart training to Nepali leaders on the Xi Jinping Thought ahead of the visit of the Chinese president, his first to Nepal.

Nepal’s politics has always been heavily influenced by geopolitical games in the region, and the split in the Nepal Communist Party comes on the heels of a flurry of visits from India, starting with India’s spy chief and followed by those of the chief of the Indian Army, the foreign secretary and a key leader of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, giving political pundits ample ground to churn out analyses.

Two days after Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardan Shringla’s Nepal visit, Beijing had sent its State Councillor and Defence Minister Wei Fenghe on a day-long visit.

Source: Kathmandu Post

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