Kathmandu, Dec 13: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's high-profile visit to Nepal has been postponed, apparently over security concerns. Wen's scheduled three-day visit to Nepal next week was eagerly anticipated here as the two countries were to discuss billions of dollars of investment by Beijing in the landlocked country.
Though no reasons was given by the Nepalese authorities for the postponement of the trip, which would have been first by a Chinese prime minister since premier Zhu Rongji's visit in 2001, sources said the trip had been put off at the request of Beijing.
The Nepalese authorities had taken extraordinary steps to enforce security for the visit from December 20, banning demonstrations by the Tibetans living in exile here and putting a tight security around the capital Kathmandu. According to sources in the Prime Minister's Office, China has conveyed to Nepal the deferment of the visit.
But no new dates were announced. Earlier, Chinese Embassy officials had expressed displeasure over the early announcement of the date of the visit without consulting Beijing. Nepal was seeking financial assistance worth USD 7 billion from China to construct the second International Airport at tourist town of Pokhara and for three mid-sized hydropower projects to meet the growing domestic demand for energy.
The two countries were also to sign a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) for expanding trade and economic cooperation. China has already sent a draft of the BIPPA to the government of Nepal for consideration.