Keynote speech by the Rt. Hon’ble Vice President Mr. Nanda Bahadur Pun in the Opening Ceremony and High-end Forum for Cooperation and Development along the Silk Road
Lanzhou, 6 July 2017
His Excellency Mr. Qi Xuchun, Vice Chairman of the CPPCC
His Excellency Mr. Lin Duo, Party Secretary of Gansu Province
Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me immense pleasure to be amidst you today in the Opening Ceremony of 23rd China-Lanzhou Investment and Trade Fair and High-end Forum for Cooperation and Development along the Silk Road.
Taking this opportunity, I thank the Government of the People’s Republic of China and Gansu Provincial People’s Government for excellent arrangements made and warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation since our arrival in this historic and beautiful city of Lanzhou.
Our two countries are both old friends and close friends. We have long history of harmonious and friendly relations. Our political relations are cordial and are based on the unshakable foundations of peaceful coexistence- the Panchasheel. Nepal adheres to One China policy and does not allow its soil to be used by any inimical activity against China. Nepal appreciates China’s continued respect for Nepal’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
Gansu province is not only the part of the ancient silk route; it is also one of the important commercial and transportation hubs of Western China. Nepal shares historic linkages with this Province. The establishment of sister city relationship between Kathmandu City and Lanzhou City last year has also added a new dimension in bringing our people closer.
We have a tradition of exchanging high-level visits to further the bilateral cooperation between the two countries. In line with this, the then Prime Minister Hon’ble Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, after attending the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Session, had a very fruitful meeting with the Chinese President His Excellency Xi Jinping in Beijing this March. Nepal is fully committed to implement all the agreements reached in the past between the two countries.
We thank and appreciate the people and Government of China for their spontaneous and valuable support extended to Nepal after the devastating earthquakes of 2015 and for their pledge of 3 billion RMB for the reconstruction projects for the period of 2016-18.
In the context of successful conclusion of Belt and Road (B&R) Forum for International Cooperation in last May in Beijing, the theme chosen as “Cooperation and Development along the Silk Road” is pertinent.
Since the concept -Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was propounded in 2013 by the Chinese President His Excellency Xi Jinping, it has achieved a good progress and has got new momentum after the B&R Forum. It is our belief that the BRI would be instrumental to pursue the agenda of our common priority. We are happy to note that BRI is based on the spirit of peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefits.
BRI aims at promoting connectivity and unleashing the potentials in trade, investment, tourism, people-to-people ties and other similar areas of our common interest. Such cooperation would entail the rapid economic growth and socio-economic development in order to contribute our aspiration of common prosperity.
For all these, we need more interconnected world, not the fragmented one. Mutually beneficial cooperation among countries is possible only when our cities are connected by rails, roads and airways; our peoples have regular interactions and our bilateral mechanisms functions properly. This would bring about real changes in terms of our trade and investment landscape.
In the case of LDCs and LLDCs countries like Nepal, it is our conviction that the economic bottlenecks and infrastructures deficits require to overcome without further delay. In this context, we have taken the BRI as an opportunity for the development of infrastructures and improvements of connectivity between Nepal and China for mutual benefits. These efforts would unleash the potentials of trade, investment, tourism, people-level contacts, among others. Nepal wishes improve cross-border connectivity and utilize the natural resources for the economic transformation of our people. Economic transformation of country like Nepal is possible only with more capital investment, transfer of technology, long term cooperation with BRI countries and sharing of experiences for common benefit.
It is our understanding that China has been making timely efforts to provide much needed stimulus for infrastructure development for realizing potentials of other segments of the economy in Asia and beyond. This requires collaboration, partnership and joint efforts as mentioned in Confucian analects- “One who wishes himself to be successful must also help others to be successful; one who wishes to develop himself must also help other to develop.”
Recently, we have achieved significant political gains and making impressive headway towards economic transformation. The latest World Banks report projects Nepal as the third fastest growing economy in the world for this year. We have taken several reforms measures to provide conducive environment for investment in our priority sectors. Hydro-power and tourism are among them. We need huge investment in infrastructure and tourism industry and publicity of the tourism resources such as the Mount Everest, the Himalayas, the Lumbini- Birthplace of Shakyamuni Buddha in the potential source markets like China.
Nepal is the founding member of the AIIB. We also hold the dialogue partner status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Together with our active participation in SAARC, BIMSTEC and UN, we should effectively pursue the agenda of development in all forums. We are fully confident that the BRI will also bring prosperity and development in the region and beyond.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We thank and appreciate China for its continued support and cooperation to the socio-economic development efforts of Nepal. We appreciate the Chinese Government for its announcement to mark the 2017 as ‘Nepal Tourism Promotion Year in China’. Nepal is committed to realize the potential of this initiative with concerted efforts of all stakeholders. We believe that the Government of China could also support and cooperate to make the year successful by encouraging more Chinese people to visit Nepal.
The promulgation of Constitution, concluding stage of peace process and successful holding of two phases of local level elections are major political achievements of Nepal in the recent past. Our next agenda is socio-economic transformation of the country. We need huge investment for maximum utilization of our natural resources for bringing prosperity in Nepal. In this context, I would like to state here that Nepal is a safe for investment. Our legal frameworks are conducive for the investor with guarantee for repatriation of return on investment. In the Nepal Investment Summit held in March this year, out of total 13.5 billion US Dollar investment intents, 8.3 billion US Dollar came only from the Chinese companies. We are encouraged by their intent to invest in Nepal. The Government is committed to materialize the pledge for investment in Nepal.
Taking this opportunity, I invite the investors, entrepreneurs and businesspersons from all across China and particularly from Gansu and other neighboring provinces as well as from the participating countries of the BRI to seize the opportunities available in Nepal.
Finally, I am fully confident that the deliberation in this Forum would provide opportunity to share ideas and visions to push forward the spirit of development and cooperation as espoused in the BRI.
I wish the Forum all success!
Thank you very much!