A wary China high-level delegation led by a vice minister of the Chinese Communist Party here to assess the ground situation and avert a vertical split in the ruling Nepal Communist Party, according to media reports n Saturday, nearly a week after embattled Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli got the House of Representatives dissolved.
Nepal plunged into a political crisis last Sunday after Oli, known for his pro-Beijing leanings, in a surprise move, recommended dissolving the 275-member House, amidst a tussle for power with the former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”.
Acting on Prime Minister Oli’s recommendation, President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House the same day and announced; fresh elections on April 30 and May 10, sparking protests from a large section of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP); led by Prachanda, also a co-chair of the ruling party.
China is sending a high-level delegation led by the Vice President of the International Department of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) Guo Yezhou to Kathmandu, The Kathmandu Post reported.
Citing sources in both factions of the NCP the paper reported “Leading a four-member team, Guo is scheduled to land in Kathmandu on Sunday morning on a regular China Southern Airlines flight.”
Bishnu Rijal, Deputy Head of Department of Foreign Affairs; of the NCP’s Prachanda-led faction, said that the Chinese side has communicated; about Gou’s visit to Kathmandu. In the paper, Rijal was quoted saying “I don’t have much detail to share with you at this point of time.”
The Chinese embassy here did not respond; to its multiple calls and message, the paper said. Although no specific details about the agenda of the visit are available, senior NCP leaders confirmed that Guo is scheduled to land in Kathmandu; on Sunday morning, leading a four-member delegation, My Republica newspaper reported.
Observers here believe that the visit could be to assess the ground situation; in Nepal following the decision of Oli to dissolve the House of Representatives; and the rival faction within the NCP taking to the streets, it said. Citing sources in the ruling party, the paper said during his four-day stay in Kathmandu, the Chinese vice-minister is scheduled to meet top leaders of both factions of the party.
The development comes after the Chinese ambassador in Nepal Hou Yanqi held a series of meetings with the president and top leaders of the NCP, including Prachanda and Madhav Nepal, who has replaced Oli as chairman of the Prachanda-led faction.
During her meeting with Madhav Nepal on Friday, Ambassador Hou, who was concerned about the spilt in the NCP, inquired about the future political course; of the ruling party among other things, the paper quoted Rijal as saying.
Hou on Thursday met Prachanda, who claims control over the ruling party; after removing Prime Minister Oli from the posts of the party’s parliamentary leader and chair. She had also met the Standing Committee member; and former energy minister Barsha Man Pun on Thursday, the paper said.
Hou’s meeting with Prachanda came two days after she called on President Bhandari; at the latter’s office in Sheetal Niwas on Tuesday. The envoy was said to have discussed the latest political development following the president’s move; to dissolve the House of Representatives and announce mid-term elections.
This is not the first time that China has intervened in Nepal’s internal affairs at a time of crisis. A number of political party leaders had termed; the Chinese envoy’s series of meetings with the ruling party leaders as interference in Nepal’s internal political affairs.
Dozens of student activists carrying placards with anti-China slogans; had staged a demonstration in front of the Chinese Embassy here to protest against Hou’s interference in Nepal’s internal affairs.