CPN Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has brought up the issue of Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) during the ruling party's interaction with the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Friday and assured the Chinese that the country will not accept foreign assistance connected with security interests and against the Constitution.
He didn't name MCC but left little to imagination as to what he was referring to while assuring the Chinese communist leaders that Nepal will only accept foreign assistance that respects Nepal's independence and non-aligned policy.
"Nepal pursues non-aligned foreign policy. Therefore, any development support from friendly countries that honor Nepal’s sovereign independence, and non-aligned policy only will be welcomed," he stated during the video conferencing that had Chief of the international liaison department of CPC Song Tao among the participants from the Chinese side. "Any kinds of support attached with security alignment that contradicts with our constitution can’t be accepted by any means. The Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) is fully aware of this fact on its conduct of foreign policy."
Dahal had also reportedly given similar aassurance of not passing the MCC from the House to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who visited Nepal in September 2019 to prepare for the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Dahal had said that Nepal firmly adheres to the non-alignment policy and disapproves of the 'so-called Indo-Pacific strategy’ during his meeting with Wang, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Dahal, while assuring to reject the MCC that he and his faction in ruling CPN accuse of being part of the Indo-Pacific Strategy of America, was effusive in praise of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) started by Chinese President Xi Jinping to expand Chinese influence and interests.
"Being a part of Belt and Road Initiative, we firmly believe that the BRI can bring in opportunities for common development to the countries like Nepal. We can develop Community of Shared Destiny across the Himalayas by pursuing development path under the theme of Trans- Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network," he effused. "We are committed to developing a community of shared future across the Himalayas by the cooperation under the broader framework of President Xi Jinping’s vision of Belt and Road Initiative."
Ruling CPN is bitterly divided over the MCC and has called standing committee meeting on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
CPN has already decided to stop all works related to the MCC until it is endorsed by the House.
Many including Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal are unhappy about the projects under it being included in the government's policies and programs and then the budget, and want to take a decision on the MCC in the party.
But Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli has been pointing that the MCC, which the main opposition party Nepali Congress has already urged the government to pass, has already been tabled in the House and it will be decided by the House and not political parties.
CPN had hotly debated MCC during the standing committee meeting in December 2019 with the erstwhile Maoists and those from Madhav Kumar Nepal faction opposing it saying it should only be passed if it becomes clear that it is not part of the Indo-Pacific Strategy floated by America.
The US embassy in Kathmandu later issued a 10-point statement clarifying that the MCC is not part of military affairs.
The press statement, which it said was in response to a large number of queries from Nepali citizens, politicians, and members of the media about the MCC, claimed that every Nepali government since 2012 has been in favor of the MCC and that there is no military component to the compact.
The issue was raised even during the central committee meeting that concluded on February 2 and the party formed a task force to address the issue. The party formed the task force led by senior leader Jhala Nath Khanal and including Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali and standing committee member Bhim Rawal as members on February 2 to study MCC to find out whether it is part of the American military strategy or not.
The task force recommended that it should not be endorsed without amendment. But Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali had put a 15-point dissenting opinion.