Amid the building pressure from seniors members of NCP (Nepal Communist Party) on Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to step down, China came to the rescue of their confidante. As the intra-party row continue to surge, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi intensified her series of meetings with senior leadership of the ruling government. With the recent interactions between Chinese authorities and KP Sharma Oli-government, experts have argued that they are observing a Chinese move into Nepali politics to further its foreign policy goals.
Rifts are transpiring among the leaders of the NCP after a series of debatable decisions taken by Oli including bringing in two ordinances in an attempt to secure his Prime Ministerial position. Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Bamdev Gautam reportedly asked him to step down at the first party secretariat meeting on 28 April. A number of members of the party standing committee also called for an emergency meeting alleging that Oli is trying to single-handedly take over the party and government.
Taking cognizance of clash within factions of the ruling party, Chinese authorities plunged in to mediate the differences. On May 1, the Chinese Ambassador held talks with NCP Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Madhav Nepal (UML) and reportedly, discussed the ongoing political developments in the government, apart from the COVID-19 response action. Yanqi also met Nepali President Bidya Bhandari and held talks over the current political circumstances. As per media reports, President Bhandari and Chinese President Xi Jinping also held telephonic conversations earlier this week, however, the details of the conversation have not been revealed yet.
Notably, relations between Nepal and China entered a new phase with their bilateral relations in October 2019 after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Himalayan nation. He was the first sitting Chinese leader to visit Nepal in almost 23 years. During this visit, Xi and Oli signed some 20 agreements for the development of sectors such as tourism and health. Additionally, the Chinese President pledged USD 500 million to aid the Nepalese economy for the next two years.
Interestingly, there are speculations in the Indian political discourse over the escalating Sino-Nepal ties that it could be worrying for the existing Indo-Nepal relations.