Chinese Premier Wen Jaibao has postponed his much anticipated visit to Nepal sine die at the eleventh according to latest reports coming out of Nepal.
Nepali Deputy Prime Minister Narayankaji Shrestha was told of the postponement of the three-day official visit scheduled from December 20 by Chinese ambassador to Nepal Yang Houlan this morning according to media reports.
A Nepali “foreign ministry source”, while expressing displeasure at the “unilateral decision”, said that the hosts had been taken “unawares” by China’s last minute change of mind.
In another report AFP quoted a “senior parliamentary source” as saying that the Chinese had concerns over security, including the “possibility of protests from Tibetan exiles”.
Nepali media had been reporting on the grand preparations for their most high profile Chinese guest since 2001 when Wen Jiabao’s predecessor Zhu Rongji visited the Himalayan kingdom.
Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha had travelled to Beijing in November to personally invite Wen, although later reports indicated of China’s displeasure at Nepal for jumping the gun in going public with the visit.
There were also reports in the Nepali mainstream media of “tighter restrictions” on the Tibetan refugee community in Nepal as part of the security preparations for the cancelled visit.
Nepal was looking forward at seeking a credit line of US$ 5 billion from China in addition to expanding the list of items that Nepal can export at zero duty to the northern market and sign a bilateral investment protection and promotion agreement (BIPPA) to lure and secure more Chinese investments.
Nepal and China were also scheduled to hold discussions on improving border security measures to prevent Tibetans from crossing over to the Himalayan nation and decide on ways to curb “anti-China activities” by Tibetan refugees in Nepal.