Chinese foreign minister starts official visit to Nepal
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi arrived in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu Tuesday at the start of a three-day official visit, dpa reported.
The visit is the first by a Chinese foreign minister since the Nepal's politicians voted overwhelmingly to abolish the monarchy and declare the country a republic in 2007.
During his stay in Nepal, Yang, who leads a 10-member delegation, will hold talks with his Nepalese counterpart Upendra Yadav on a range of issues including Nepal's peace process, Chinese assistance and border issues.
Nepalese media reports said Yang was likely to raise the issue of Tibetan exiles living in Nepal.
Earlier this year, almost daily anti-China demonstrations by Tibetan exiles targeted the Chinese embassy and United Nations offices in Kathmandu.
Nepalese foreign ministry spokesman Suresh Pradhan said the visit will prepare ground work for Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal's official trip to China, which is likely to be scheduled for early 2009.
Yang's trip to Nepal came barely a week after Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee visited the Himalayan nation.
Political observers say Yang's trip, coming soon after the visit by the Indian foreign minister, is a significant development as the Maoist led government in Nepal tries to balance its relations with its two large neighbours to the north and south.
There has also been a flurry of activity by Chinese military delegations to Nepal in recent weeks.
Last week, a senior Chinese military delegation was in Kathmandu, and another is expected next week.
China was a major supplier of arms to the Nepalese government following King Gyanendra's grab for absolute power in 2005, when most nations suspended weapons exports to Nepal.
The two countries are also expected to sign agreement on economic cooperation.