Nepali President Bidya Devi Bhandari said the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a “positive” undertaking, calling for joint efforts by all parties involved to address challenges that may arise in their cooperation under the BRI.
Bhandari, who is to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing later this week, made the remarks during a recent interview with a group of Chinese reporters in Kathmandu.
Commenting on allegations by some people that the BRI is a “debt trap,” she said aids and loans under the initiative are provided in accordance with a country’s needs and are helpful for its development.
“We should view them (aids and loans under the BRI) positively,” the Nepali president said, adding that the loans can facilitate cash flow and financing in a country.
“So we should not be negative toward them,” she stressed.
“Being one of the least developed countries of the world, Nepal needs financial and technological cooperation to develop itself,” Bhandari told the Chinese reporters.
Nepal is now working with China to establish the Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network as part of the BRI, she said.
“Nepal’s bright future depends on the bright future of China and the benevolent attitude of China towards Nepal. As we are bordering neighbours, our destiny is connected with each other. This is what I feel,” the president said.
Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the BRI comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.
Chines State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in March that the BRI is not a “debt trap,” but an “economic pie” that brings real benefits to all parties.
The second Belt & Road Forum, scheduled for April 25-27, will be attended by some 5,000 participants from more than 150 countries and 90 international organisations, including heads of state and government from 37 countries.