Saturday, December 2, 2023

Why Nepal’s change of guard is major diplomatic setback for China?

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According to media reports, the unexpected defeat in Nepal of several advisors of KP Oli, former PM and president of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), and Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s weakened legislative presence has reduced the possibility of Communists having influence in parliament.

The new change of guard in Nepal may therefore represent a big diplomatic loss for Chinese President Xi Jinping, since the power dynamics in Kathmandu under the Deuba-led alliance are unlikely to favour Beijing. As a result, China will have to rethink its posture in Nepal.

Deuba, who is expected to form the government in Nepal has already committed political capital to advancing the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement with the US, on which work has already begun.

Since its creation in July 2021, the five-party coalition government led by Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba has held just a few bilateral mechanism-level meetings and a phone chat between the two foreign ministers.

China was irritated when the Deuba-led administration addressed the topic of alleged Chinese border encroachment without contacting Beijing.

According to the study, China has always maintained a careful eye on political developments in Nepal, including elections. Since the Nepalese Parliament adopted the United States (US) Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact in March, various Chinese leaders have exchanged high-level visits with Nepal.

As the vote count neared completion, the Nepali Congress, the political party of caretaker Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, was believed to have earned the most seats in the November 20 election.

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