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Chinese envoy ‘meddling’ in Nepal politics

NewsChinese envoy ‘meddling’ in Nepal politics

New Delhi: Even as Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli struggles hard to retain power, Chinese Ambassador to the country Hou Yanqi’s involvement in domestic politics is raising eyebrows, with sources saying it is she who is running the government there.

Nepal-based sources said that the Chinese envoy has been talking to leaders to ensure that Oli remains in power and the ruling Nepal Congress Party (NCP) is united, as Beijing is concerned about political stability in the Himalayan country.

Amidst this imbroglio, sources said, the two Nepal Communist Party leaders—K.P. Sharma Oil and Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”—are under pressure to negotiate a power-sharing deal. Sources said there could be a Cabinet reshuffle to resolve the crisis.

The Prachanda faction is being backed by senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Natha Khanal and demanding resignation of Oli from the post of party chair and Prime Minister as they are against Oli’s “autocratic style” of functioning. Oli and Prachanda, these sources said, have held several rounds of talk in order to end the stalemate, but in vain.

This week, the much-awaited meeting of the standing committee meeting of the NCP took place after it was postponed seven times.

However, Prachanda did not attend the crucial meeting. The differences between the two leaders have not yet been resolved, sources said. Dahal, in fact, alleged that Oli was adamant in splitting the party. Another standing committee meeting is planned on 28 July.

Yanqi has been meeting with government officials and political leaders in the last few days in order to resolve the crisis in the government.

According to local media reports, the Chinese Ambassador met President Bidya Bhandari and Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Madhav Kumar Nepal.

The Kathmandu Post has reported that some officials in the foreign ministry have said that the President’s office has been repeatedly violating the diplomatic code of conduct.

The Chinese Embassy, however, defended Hou’s meetings. Embassy spokesperson Zhang Si told the Kathmandu Post that China did not wish to see the Nepal Communist Party in trouble and wanted the leaders to resolve their differences and stay united. “The Embassy keeps good relationships with Nepali leaders and is ready to exchange views on issues of common interest at any convenient time,” said Zhang, according to a report in the Kathmandu Post.

Nepal-based sources said that Hou held a meeting with Madhav Nepal also during which the two discussed the ongoing conflict within the ruling party. In the meeting, said these sources, the Chinese Ambassador reportedly urged both the sides to maintain restraint.

These sources maintain that Hou also met with Prime Minister Oli before the commencement of the party’s Standing Committee meeting last month.

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