A top Chinese official will be on a three-day official visit to Nepal starting September 12, media reports said, citing multiple sources. Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, the Chinese Speaker, will be on a three-day official visit to Kathmandu. The visit is taking place at the invitation of House of Representatives Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota. However, the visit of the chairman of China’s National People’s Congress is yet to be formally announced by either side. It is worth noting that Li is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s close ally. He is also the No. 3 member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, the top decision-making body of China, after President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang.
The visit is taking place just ahead of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which is set to take place in October. The Congress is likely to give another term extension to Chinese President Xi. This visit also comes ahead of the general and provincial elections in Nepal scheduled for November 20, reported Nepal’s local media outlet, Kathmandu Post.
According to the media portal, the Chinese leadership has been encouraging the Nepali communist leaders, particularly the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre), to forge an alliance for the elections.
This will be the third-highest visit from the north in the last year after the formation of Sher Bahadur Deuba’s government in Kathmandu. In March, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is also the State Councilor of China, visited Kathmandu and discussed a wide range of bilateral issues with the top political leadership. Then in July, the Foreign Department Chief of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Liu Jianchao, arrived in Kathmandu and held talks with all major political stakeholders, including Communist Party leaders.
In August, Nepali Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka visited Qingdao, China, and met with his counterpart, Wang, to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues, including recent friction between China and the US over the Taiwan Strait.