pm on Tsinghua university
Speech delivered by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal at a Talk Programme hosted by Tsinghua University in Beijing on December 30, 2009
Office-bearers of the Tsinghua University,
Professors, Scholars and Intellectuals,
Friends and Well-wishers of Nepal,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I am very happy to visit the Tsinghua University, one of the topmost institutes of higher learning of China, located in the beautiful and ancient city of Beijing, that is deservedly proud of its long and breathtaking history spanning several decades. Known more as the seat of advanced learning and research particularly in the fields of science and technology, law, economics and business management, and journalism and communications, this university, with a motto of ‘Self-discipline and Social Commitment’, is dedicated to academic excellence, the well-being of the Chinese society and global development. The University is also justly proud of its notable alumni and some of the great names associated with this great seat of learning include His Excellency President Hu Jintao, His Excellency Chairman Wu Bangguo, Vice-President Xi Jinping and former Premier Zhu Rongji.
2. Today I am privileged and honoured to join the select list of distinguished leaders, statesmen and intellectuals who have been guest speakers of this leading institute in the past. At the outset, let me appreciate, Mr. Chairperson, the warm words of welcome that you have just spoken for me personally and for my country and people. I extend sincere thanks to you and all other friends of your reputed institute for kindly inviting me to address this august gathering of diplomats, professors, intellectuals, professionals, students, and old and new friends of Nepal. It is, indeed, a matter of great honour to me personally and my country Nepal to share thoughts on our current status of political developments, bilateral relations and other matters of mutual interest in the presence of such a distinguished assembly of friends and well-wishers.
3. Every time I come to Beijing (this is the seventh visit for me), I find an atmosphere of spontaneous activity, exemplary zeal and enthusiasm that has always characterized this great and sprawling metropolis and its marvellous people. Hailed as one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals and literally known as northern capital, Beijing is now the third most populous city of China. Beijing is richly endowed with opulent palaces, temples, museums, tombs, rivers, walls, gates and other impressive cultural, archaeological and heritage sites. Traditionally being the epitome of one of the oldest civilizations of the world as China has distinguished herself and as the great hub of China’s politics, education, culture, art and architecture, Beijing has been an integral part of the country’s history for centuries. In recent period, particularly after China’s march towards economic reforms and liberalisation, this great metropolitan city has succeeded in attracting top-notch companies and entrepreneurs from across the world in diverse fields of social, economic and technological development.
4. You are kindly aware that the fundamental tenets of Nepal’s foreign policy are to adhere to the principles of non-alignment, promote friendly and purposeful relations with all peace-loving countries of the world, particularly our immediate neighbours, on the basis of equality and mutual respect, scrupulously abide by the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, and uphold universal peace and stability. As one of the Least Developed Countries and also assuming the Chair of the Group of the LDCs, we are doing our best to highlight the specific problems afflicting these countries in terms of their severe resource constraints, economic crisis and financial meltdown, food crisis, energy crisis, environmental issues and adverse impact of climate change. At the national level, we have given emphasis on economic diplomacy to focus on our objective of promoting accelerated rate of social and economic transformation of the country. As we are among the poorest countries with limited resource base, the Government is keen to take all possible measures to mobilize our scarce internal resources and external assistance for expediting our development endeavours.
5. The prevailing political situation in Nepal is essentially an admixture of constraints and opportunities. A cursory look on the political history of Nepal during the last three years shows that we have passed through several epoch-making and historic events like the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, formal end of a decade-long insurgency, abolition of 240 years old Shah-dynastic Monarchy, promulgation of Interim Constitution, successful conclusion of the Constituent Assembly elections and the declaration of the country as a Federal Democratic Republic.
6. While these momentous developments have been watershed events in the annals of Nepal’s political history of around two and half centuries, these have rightly set the tone and defined our commitments to take the peace process to its positive and meaningful conclusion and write a suitable constitution within the stipulated timeframe as per the aspiration of the common Nepali people. The Government is firmly committed to achieve these priority objectives through a spirit of dialogue, consultations, consensus and unity of purpose on the part of major political forces in the country. I understand that there is a feeling of some apprehensions on the part of our friends and a section of international community on our political situation whether we will be able to resolve our problems and challenges. The Government is showing utmost flexibility in a spirit of sportsmanship to promote peace, stability and national reconciliation. We have always remained in favour of consensus rather than isolating or marginalizing any political force in our country. However, there is a need to scrupulously follow past agreements and understanding and, at the same time, to abide by the rules of the game on the part of the political parties on some basic features like promoting peace and stability and the rule of law. We seek to strengthen our political gains of recent years and promote fraternity, reconciliation and tolerance among our people. On this occasion, we appreciate the consistent level of support and understanding shown by the Government and people of China in our peace endeavours and our resolve to promote peace, stability and progress.
7. Some of the major challenges facing us now are the extent and scope of inclusiveness, state restructuring, type of government and federal structure with a view to striking a reasonable balance between our efforts in bringing the marginalised and neglected sections of the society in the mainstream and promoting national unity and harmony. The Constituent Assembly is currently engaged in drafting the constitution within the specified period, that is May 28, 2010, and various thematic committees of the house are working on various issues that are going to be incorporated as the basic features of the new constitution.
8. While it is absolutely necessary to institutionalise the political process for ensuring enduring and sustainable peace and stability in the country, the Government is also conscious of the urgent need to undertake adequate socio-economic measures to bring about rapid social and economic transformation in the country in consonance with the rising aspirations of the people of Nepal. As an effort to give impetus to speedy economic development, the Government has pursued an investment-friendly policy and is open to provide further facilities in this direction with a view to attracting increased foreign direct investment.
Friends and Well-wishers,
9. During my present visit to China, I have had the opportunity and look forward to meet and interact with top leaders of this great country in Beijing, Lhasa and Xian during my visit and discuss our bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest. I had extensive discussion with H.E. Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday. Our talks covered a broad range of bilateral relations and we agreed to promote comprehensive partnership of cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship between the two countries. The basic purpose of my visit is to further promote mutual understanding and trust and take our consistently cordial relations to a new height.
As during my past visits and my interactions with your leaders, I have once again found a constant reservoir of friendship and goodwill on the part of Chinese leadership towards Nepal and Nepalese people. On this occasion, I wish to pay my tributes to the visionary leaders of our two countries who have played a unique role in establishing and promoting mutually beneficial relations and close understanding between Nepal and China as we are committed to take our bilateral ties of friendship and co-operation to a new level in keeping with the aspirations of our people.
10. Nepal and China enjoy excellent relations. Our close ties of friendship and co-operation and fruitful bilateral exchanges date back to antiquities and the magnificent and majestic snow-capped Himalayas have never been a barrier but always symbolized extremely cordial warm relations that have so happily existed between our two neighbouring countries. Government representatives, great scholars, explorers and even ordinary travellers have criss-crossed our borders for centuries to study and promote mutual co-operation, engage in bilaterally useful trade and economic activities, and further promote and propagate friendship and understanding at people’s level. Lord Buddha, that is Shakyamuni Buddh, an immortal son of Nepal, has served as an important connecting link between our two countries for centuries as his teachings on peace and non-violence have inspired and guided our relations and truly institutionalized our friendship. While Lumbini, Swayambhunath and Bauddhanath are places for eternal pilgrimages for people from this country for ages, our people have been to China to build and fortify our friendship. Buddhabhadra (1600 years ago), Bhrikuti and Arniko played a unique role in further cementing our relations that have continued to the modern era. One of the hallmarks of our bilateral relations in recent period of history is consistently warm degree of friendship irrespective of various changes in both the countries.
11. After 1955 when the two countries decided to establish formal diplomatic relations to give a further fillip to our ancient ties of close friendship and amicability, we have consistently enjoyed intimate relations based on the five principles of peaceful co-existence. This was a time when both countries had limited contacts at the international level. Nepal has always been steadfast in her support to accord China its rightful place in the comity of nations including the United Nations and expulsion of Taiwan that has always been recognized by us as an integral part of China. We also had a new agreement on Tibet Autonomous Region of China in 1956 in keeping with our policy to further strengthen our ties with your great country. China has extended generous assistance in terms of financial and technical co-operation to Nepal during the last five decades of our bilateral development co-operation.
12. As you are kindly aware, the fundamental bedrock of political relations between Nepal and China is the pursuance of one China policy adopted by Nepal and recognition of Taiwan and Tibet Autonomous Region as integral and inalienable parts of China. We have always followed the policy of not allowing the use of our territory against our neighbours. We are pleased that our two most important neighbours, China and India, have made tremendous progress in social, economic and technical fields. Despite economic slowdown and global financial crisis, these two countries have achieved consistently high growth rate and emerged as important economic powerhouses in recent years. We seek to accelerate the pace of our social and economic transformation by taking advantage of this situation. Nepal is willing to serve as a bridge and transit between these two fast developing countries for our collective advantage. In the changed political and economic context, we are eager to further promote our bilateral ties with our two neighbours and interlink our economic, technical, trade and investment policies with them for our mutual benefit. We realize that as relations between China and India grow at various levels, there are even better prospects of developing trilateral co-operation involving Nepal, China and India for undertaking some important development projects in Nepal on a win-win basis to promote regional development and improve the quality of life of millions of people in our region.
13. As a true friend and well-wisher, Nepal is delighted at the unprecedented scale of progress and prosperity achieved by China in recent years in modernizing China’s economy in four core sectors. I have been highly impressed by these breathtaking achievements in the fields of social and economic developments in your country under the dynamic leadership of His Excellency President Hu Jintao. We wish China all success in her development goals as we are convinced that a strong, united, peaceful and prosperous China can play a major role in ensuring and promoting world peace, stability and prosperity. Likewise, we greatly appreciate the progress made by the Tibet Autonomous Region of China in various fields. The impressive developments of the economy of Tibet Autonomous Region along with greater emphasis on increased transport connectivity have been a subject of our abiding interest.
14. As I shared with you earlier, we are fully convinced that there exists substantial scope for strengthening bilateral co-operation between Nepal and China and also between our country and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. There is a greater need to improve connectivity between the two countries in terms of air-links and surface networks and promote bilateral trade and economic co-operation. On our part, we have to give emphasis on employment generating activities in our rural and remote areas particularly in the northern parts of the country that have great diversity in terms of topography and accessibility, and adopt suitable technology to promote balanced, integrated and inclusive development that has been the clarion call of our time. There is also a significant possibility for augmenting our bilateral co-operation in the fields of agriculture and animal husbandry. Tourism is another area where we can co-operate for mutual benefit. We welcome large number of Chinese tourists in Nepal as we are going to celebrate 2011 as Nepal Tourism Year. We feel that the development of tourism will also have a commensurate impact on our fight against poverty and backwardness.
15. Apart from the existing status of our bilateral development co-operation, I am convinced that there are several fields for promoting our mutually beneficial co-operation. For instance, Nepal and China may proceed with tangible and meaningful cooperation while adopting necessary measures for mitigating the far-reaching impacts of climate change on the fragile Himalayan ecosystem. The conclusion of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen earlier this month and deliberations during the meeting have shown that the impact of climate change on us is real and alarming, and pose long-term and disproportionate consequences to both of us.
16. As we attach high importance to further consolidating our mutually satisfying relations between Nepal and China, we are confident that our bilateral relations would grow to a new height in line with the aspirations of our respective people. With these words, I thank you, Mr. Chairperson, and your colleagues and all the esteemed friends who are present here for your kind patience and for giving me such an important opportunity to interact with such a distinguished assembly of scholars, intellectuals, friends and well-wishers of Nepal. Let us work in unison to further promote and consolidate our bilateral ties of friendship and co-operation.
Thank you all once again.