The government’s commitment to ‘One China’ policy questioned in parliament

The main opposition leader took the government to task for violating established foreign policy norms of neutrality and allowing the US minister to visit the Tibetan camps.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Chair of main opposition party CPN-UML and former Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has taken strong exception to the government’s decision to allow the US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights and US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Uzra Zeya to visit the Tibetan camps during her recent trip to Kathmandu. 

He also accused the government of deviating from established norms and values of Nepal’s foreign policy including Nepal’s long-standing ‘One China’ policy. 

Oli was speaking at the parliament on Thursday. 

During her visit to Kathmandu, Zeya had visited the Jawalakhel-based Tibetan camp, where she is reported to have interacted with Tibetan refugees about the problems facing them. Nepal’s Foreign Ministry official had expressed ignorance about the meetings between Uzra Zeya and Tibetan refugee leaders in Kathmandu.

Uzra Zeya/Twitter

“Is Nepal for the One China policy or not? Is Nepal committed to the policy of not allowing Nepali land to be used against neighbor?” Oli questioned Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in parliament. “Prime Minister must answer this.”

Indicating Zeya’s visit to Tibetan camps, without taking her name, Oli criticized the government for allowing her to visit the camps. “The government provides escort to an assistant minister and allows her to visit gumbas. Should not we maintain honesty in our relationship with neighbors? Where is the neutrality which our constitution has envisaged?” He questioned.

While recalling his own recent trip to Limi of Humla, the main opposition leader said that even he had to take permission from the administration to visit there. “When I visited the Limi Valley of Humla I took approval from the administration. I, who am a sitting parliamentarian, who am a former prime minister, and the leader of the opposition party, to visit a place inside my country,” he said.  Who gave her permission to visit the gumbas? Oli asked. “If the permission was given, who gave it? In whose favor did you give it? Against whom?” Oli asked as PM Deuba sat listening.

Oli said that the alliance government has rendered Nepal’s foreign policy weak and crisis-laden. “The gathabandhan sarkar has taken an irresponsible and biased approach toward the sensitivities of the neighboring friendly countries,” he said. He accused the government of being comfortable with certain power centers at the cost of national interests. “This government was formed to become comfortable with certain powers and it has not done anything more than be comfortable,” he said. 

He further said that the government has become completely indifferent toward addressing the legitimate sensitivities of neighboring friendly countries. “The government has rendered our foreign policy unbalanced and narrow to serve the power interests of the alliance,” he said. He also said that he is ready to debate with any members of the ruling alliance about this. “I am ready to debate with the members of the ruling alliance with facts and evidence if they have any objection to what I have said. This is not a false allegation. I am speaking the truth,” said Oli.

Oli warned that the government’s mishandling of foreign policy could have serious repercussions for Nepal in the future. “Our mistakes can create misunderstandings among neighbors and the international community in the future. The government is not concerned about this,” he said.

While indicating the visit of Zeya, Oli accused the government of failing to maintain diplomatic decorum during her visit. “The government has failed to maintain minimum diplomatic decorum during the visits of foreign diplomats and ministers. Actually, this government cannot do so, and does not want to do so.  The government stands helpless,” he said. “You say your alliance is strong. But you tremble in fear when a foreign assistant minister comes to Nepal.”