It is reported that total number of countries visited by President Xi and other Chinese leaders of his team reached 84 in 2014. The popular commentator Banyan has termed it as ‘Welter of Diplomacy’.
How will China’s new foreign policy change Nepal?
By Dr Krishna Hari Nepal
The vision of the new Chinese foreign policy was given by President Xi in the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs held in Beijing in last November. The focal point is to ensure the realization of the “two centenary goals”(doubling the 2010 GDP and per capita income of urban and rural residents and finishing the building of a society of initial prosperity in all respects when the CPC celebrates its centenary and turning China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious when the People’s Republic of China marks its centenary) and the Chinese dream of the great renewal of the Chinese nation.
THE DIPLOMATIC PRIORITIES
The fundamental part of Chinese dream is “neighbors first” for “Community of Common Destiny” by partnerships, prosperity and connectivity. Another remarkable diplomatic priority for China has been sketched out for “solidarity and cooperation with developing countries”.
These two strategies tally with this author’s “Neo-post-Modern Theory”/ “Reaching the Unreachable” model, which proposes “conflict resolutions through reconciliation” and “security through solidarity” (See APD-SAARC Issue/Op: Five Theories for SAARC Paradigm Shift).
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
US blocked Japan, South Korea and Indonesia- some of the major economies of Asia, to be the founding Members of 21-membered Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in October 2014. Xi’s vision of Free Trade Area for Asia and Pacific was blocked by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), led by US. It is said that TPP will be handling world’s nearly 38% trade and it excluded China. But China maintained bilateral balances by signing Free Trade Area Agreements with South Korea and Australia separately.
Another crucial challenge for implying the Chinese foreign policy is largely quiescent territorial disputes with Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and India and huge investments in defense in Asia besides US military presence. But China responded to US at a point that it needs reconciliatory approach in the region. Separatist forces of the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China and Taiwan Straits are also supported by the West. At this juncture, Nepal’s firm support of one China policy has cemented Nepal-China bilateral relations exemplarily.
THE NEPALESE NEXUS
Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi said on December 26, 2014 in Kathmandu, “Nepal is close friendly neighbor and important cooperation partner as we endeavor to build this community of common destiny.”
To help Nepal get rid of the Least Developed Countries ( LDCs) status, China has raised aid to Nepal from the present level of $24 million to $128 million in 2015-16 fiscal year. China’s support of 6-aircrafts and construction of Pokhara International Airport is equally vital for bilateral tourism.
The operation of the Chengdu-Lhasa-Kathmandu sector daily flights by Sichuan Airlines, the 4th Chinese Air Carrier, from January 2015, is the latest boost-up in the aviation sector, at a time when the EU is still hesitant to lift Nepal from its air ban. The present capital target of both AIIB and BRICS Bank being US$100bn will bring great hope for Nepal’s future. Prompt action of feasibility study of extending Qinghai-Tibet Rail from Shigatse to Kerung by 2020 is laudable. This will give a boost to highly awaited Xi Jinping’s Nepal visit to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations.
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