Opening a New Voyage of Friendship and Cooperation - Premier Wen Jiabao Visits Nepal for the First Time
At 12:00, January 14, 2012 local time, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived at Katmandu for an official visit to Nepal. Within a short period of five hours, Wen held talks with Nepali Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, met with President Ram Baran Yadav and attended the welcome banquet hosted by Bhattarai. Wen and Bhattarai witnessed the signing of eight cooperation agreements between the two countries. The visit achieved fruitful results.
China and Nepal are close neighbors linked by mountains and rivers and have established the all-round cooperative partnership and friendship from generation to generation. According to Bhattarai, Wen's visit to Nepal is of historic significance and will consolidate and enhance political mutual trust, promote mutually beneficial cooperation and inject vigor in the development of Nepal-China relations.
It is the first visit of Premier Wen to Nepal as well as the first visit paid by a Chinese premier to the country for ten years. Bhattarai personally received Wen at the airport and held a grand welcome ceremony. Two vice prime ministers of the Nepali government and all the senior military officers attended the ceremony. Wen then directly headed to the Prime Minister's Office for talks with Bhattarai. Hearing about Wen's visit, thousands of local people spontaneously lined along the street to welcome him.
Wen told Bhattarai that Nepal is at a crucial period of historical transition. China respects the development path chosen by Nepal, supports Nepal's efforts of maintaining national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and believes the political parties in Nepal can keep in mind the fundamental interest of the state and the people, unite together and work hard to achieve domestic peace, stability and development at an early date.
He said that China will continue to help Nepal to improve people's livelihood, enhance its own development capacity and conduct pragmatic cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. The two sides should strengthen planning through the economic and trade joint commission, prioritize the cooperation programs based on scientific assessment and advance them step by step.
He added that the Chinese government encourages competitive and reputable Chinese enterprises to invest and do business in Nepal and supports the Tibet Autonomous Region to play to its strength to step up cooperation with Nepal. The two countries should improve the customs clearance at existing ports and open new ports as soon as possible to boost border trade and at the same time strengthen border law enforcement and security cooperation to jointly maintain stability and tranquility of the border area.
Bhattarai said that Nepal cherishes its traditional friendship with China and appreciates the help of the Chinese government. Nepal is willing to reinforce the high-level exchanges with China, further enhance the political mutual trust and deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation. He welcomes the investment of Chinese enterprises and the visit of Chinese travelers to his country.
The two sides are satisfied with the momentum of the bilateral cultural exchanges in recent years. They announced to make 2012 the "Year of China-Nepal Exchanges" and agreed to promote cooperation in the fields of culture and education and between youth and media. 100 Nepali youth will be invited to visit China in 2012 and the "China Festival" will continue to be held in Nepal regularly. More Nepali students are welcomed to study in China.
Wen and Bhattarai also exchanged opinions on the situation of South Asia. Wen said that it is the common aspiration of South Asian countries to seek peace, stability and development. The Chinese government is committed to developing the friendly and cooperative relations with all the South Asian countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China attaches importance to the friendly cooperation with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), supports SAARC's integration process and is willing to further enhance the bilateral relations. Bhattarai expressed admiration.
Following the talks, the two sides released the China-Nepal Joint Statement. The two heads of government jointly witnessed the signing of eight bilateral cooperation documents, including the economic and technological cooperation agreement, the border port and management system agreement, the border residents cross-boundary grazing agreement and the cultural cooperation agreement.
After the signing ceremony ended, Bhattarai held a welcome banquet for Wen. Leaders of the Nepali government, political parties and Constituent Assembly as well as all the ministers of the Nepali government were present. The two sides conducted in-depth and friendly talks. Leaders of main Nepali political parties introduced the peace and constitutional process of Nepal and expressed interest in China's economic and social development. Wen told them that China supports Nepal's peace and constitutional process. China believes its Nepali friends are able to overcome difficulties and realize the goal of building a new Nepal which enjoys promising prospects. Wen also took questions later. Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Prachanda, President of the Nepali Congress Party Sushil Koirala and Chairman of the Nepal Communist Party (United Marxist-Leninist) Jhalanath Khanal indicated that Nepal is deeply impressed by China's development and will promote friendship and cooperation with China and benefit from China's development.
Later, Wen held talks with President Yadav at the Presidential Residence. Wen said that China and Nepal are both developing countries and hold similar position on such major global issues as the international financial crisis, energy and food security. The two sides should make full use of existing dialogue and consultation mechanisms to strengthen coordination and collaboration on regional and international issues, maintain the interest of China, Nepal and all the developing countries and promote regional stability and development. Yadav expressed agreement.
At 17:00, Wen left Katmandu for Riyadh by chartered flight, starting his visit to Saudi Arabia.