Chinese interference turns brazen; Nepal’s foreign ministry in tizzy

Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi meets President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, PM Oli, his rival Prachanda and other ruling party leaders, not giving two hoots to the protocol

With evidence of interference in the political affairs of Nepal by the Communist Party of China (CCP) surfacing, the Foreign Ministry of the Himalayan country is unsure how to conduct is diplomacy as a shaky Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli it reports to leans towards Beijing. Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi’s meeting with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari today rendered the powers that be in Kathmandu in a tailspin.

The Chinese ambassador has met with Oli, his rival Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and Madhav Nepal too. Meanwhile, the citizens of Nepal are bracing for a feared totalitarian state under the communist party pushed into more authoritarianism by the CCP.

Some foreign ministry officials had questioned the unscheduled 3 July meeting of the Chinese ambassador with the president. They said whenever a foreign guest meets the president, the ministry is informed, but the ambassador had not told them about the meeting.

The officials associated with the president’s Sheetal Niwas have said they cannot turn foreign guests away. Publicly, they question, nevertheless, why the president’s meetings with leaders and diplomats are dragged into controversies while this is a “normal process”.

Nepal foreign ministry has no record of Chinese ambassador’s meeting with Bhandari

An official of the foreign ministry told The Kathmandu Post that a deputy secretary in his office manages the meetings of diplomats and foreign guests with the president. While he should be aware of Bhandari’s meeting with the Chinese ambassador, he was caught unawares when the envoy turned up.

On being asked, the foreign ministry said it could not have kept an official record of an unscheduled meeting.

According to Chinese sources, their ambassadors’ meetings with other politicians of the Nepal Communist Party including Prime Minister Oli preceded Hou’s meeting with Bhandari. The senior diplomat met Jhalanath Khanal at home too.

According to sources, China is showing great interest in the ongoing factionalism within the party, the anti-Oli campaign and the efforts of the Prachanda faction to seize power. While the Chinese are okay with any communist ruling Nepal, it prefers that Oli stays as Prachanda is known to be uncomfortable with Pakistan, China’s all-weather ally.

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