Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi, has stated that her government’s flagship international cooperation project, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), would not put Nepal and any other country in debt trap.

Talking to a select group of journalists at her residence this morning in the central capital of Kathmandu, the envoy said, “Some countries raise the questions whether the BRI adds to the debt of some countries and creates a debt trap, our answer is no.”

“Businesses, as the main players in BRI cooperation, will naturally act according to the law of the market so that they don’t end up losing money,” she explained. “For most developing countries, they need funds and investments in order to carry out development activities. China, as other international financial institutions do, offers help in the form of funds based on equal consultation and without any additional political condition.”

“All parties involved are equal participants, they have all contributed to the BRI and benefited from it. The BRI is open, inclusive and transparent. It does not harbour any hidden geopolitical agenda, nor is it designed to form an exclusive circle or impose discriminatory trade terms on others,” she said.

“Developing countries have a much longer history of debt, so it will be unfair to blame the BRI or China for their debt problem. In fact, no country has got trapped in a debt crisis since its participation in the BRI.”

In another context, Hou said her President Xi Jinping would make a visit to Nepal at a convenient time soon.

Recalling that President of Nepal Bidya Devi Bhandari during her recent state visit to China reminded Xi of a Nepal visit invitation, the Ambassador said, “President Xi Jinping expressed that he was willing to visit Nepal at a convenient and suitable time for both sides.”

“The Chinese side highly values the development of bilateral relations, and supports the Nepali side’s efforts in safeguarding its national independence, sovereign and territorial integrity, and in exploring a development path suited to Nepal’s own conditions,” she further said.

According to the Chinese envoy, the signing of the MOU on the BRI, the traditional friendly cooperation between China and Nepal has entered new historic opportunities, and Beijing is ready to extend every possible assistance.

She said that the two countries would further strengthen policy coordination and infrastructure connectivity, steadily push forward the construction and research of infrastructure development such as roads, ports, railways and airports, and strengthen the cooperation in tourism, finance, culture and people’s livelihood.

China has extended her helping hands to Nepal in Nine-storeyed Basantapur Tower Restoration at Durbar Square of Kathmandu, Kathmandu Durbar High School, International Sports Center Reconstruction, Rehabilitation of Runway and Taxiways of Tribhuvan International Airport, Pokhara Regional International Airport that are in smooth progress.

Upper Trishuli 3A Hydropower Project has injected 30 MW into the Nepali national grid.

Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose project’s TBM Tunnel has got a breakthrough and Zhangmu-Tatopani border port, temporarily closed due to the earthquake of 2015, will be re-opened soon, according to the concerned authorities.

China and Nepal should further intensify exchanges of all the levels and strengthen win-win cooperation in all the fields under the framework of BRI, she was of the view.

“The Chinese side is willing to continue to support Nepal’s economic and social development. The two sides work together to combine the “Chinese Dream” of realising national rejuvenation with the development goal of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali”, advance China-Nepal friendly cooperative relations to a new level, join hands to embark on a new journey to benefit the peoples of the both countries and build a community with shared future for China and Nepal.”