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Beijing sending senior Communist leader to Nepal next week

China is sending senior communist party veteran Liu Janchao apparently to unite factions of the Nepal Communist parties

A senior leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will be visiting Nepal next week, armed with the mission to unite Nepali communists ahead of the upcoming general elections.

Liu Jiancho, the head of the International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party, will arrive in Kathmandu on Sunday on a four-day visit, as part of his party's bid to expand influence by developing party-to-party relations with Nepali political parties.

Liu is scheduled to hold a series of meetings with leaders from both the ruling and opposition parties of Nepal, according to sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Besides political party leaders, Liu, who holds a ministerial rank in the CCP, will be holding meetings with Nepali President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba during the upcoming visit, media reports said.

The Chinese leader's visit is taking place after he held back-to-back video calls with key leaders of the two major communist parties and a leader of the Nepali Congress in the last week of June.

Liu had held virtual talks with chairman of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) KP Sharma Oli on June 23 and June 24 respectively.

During these virtual talks, according to sources, the Chinese leader reportedly suggested they work out an electoral alliance among the communist parties in view of the upcoming federal and provincial elections which are likely to be held in the third week of November this year.

A key agenda of the Chinese leader's visit to Nepal this time will be to reiterate China's support to the communist parties if they agree on having an electoral alliance. Although the CCP leaders are more frequently in touch with the Nepali communist parties, they are also maintaining ties with the Nepali Congress party which is currently leading the government.

On June 30, Chinese leader Liu held virtual talks with Dr Narayan Khadka, a key leader of the ruling Nepali Congress and also the country's foreign minister. The visit of the Chinese leader to Nepal is taking place just one and half months after he was appointed as the head of the CCP's crucial department, replacing Song Tao.

Liu will be the second Chinese leader to visit Nepal in the interval of three months. Earlier in March last week, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a visit to Nepal. The department is the CCP's de facto foreign ministry which maintains contacts with political parties in other countries.  Prior to taking over the present responsibility, Liu served as deputy director at the Office for Central Foreign Affairs Commission since 2018.

The 58-year-old Liu is also a former Chinese diplomat. An Oxford-trained Liu had served as the Chinese foreign ministry’s chief spokesperson between 2006 and 2009. Later on, he went on to become Chinese ambassador to Philippines and Indonesia and returned to Beijing in 2015.

Also Read: Nepal's Election Commission proposes general elections on November 18