China offers aid and finance to Nepal

KATHMANDU: Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said Friday that China would help Nepal develop electricity infrastructure worth $1.6 billion to alleviate severe electricity outages in the small Himalayan nation, where Beijing is trying to increase influence and investment. 

Chinese aid to Nepal will increase from $24 million to $128 million in 2015-16. The announcement came after talks between Chinese foreign minister Mr Yi and his Nepali counterpart Mahendra Bahadur Pandey in Kathmandu.

“Nepal has power shortages and electricity is essential for Nepal’s efforts to industrialize, to create more jobs, to build its capacity in independent development and to raise quality of lives of its people,” Wang told reporters in Katmandu.

Nepal is trying to woo investment from its neighbors China and India. India recently offered  a $1 billion soft loan to built the country’s infrastructure including power projects.

China is also building a police academy for Nepal and a direct train line from Tibet to Nepal to connect the two countries.

The relationship between the two countries is expected to reach new heights with the visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping next year.