Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi has met CPN (Unified Socialist) leader Jhala Nath Khanal.
Yanqi reached Khanal residence at Dallu and met him.
Khanal is coordinator of the committee formed recently by the ruling coalition to study about the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact. He also led the task force formed by the then ruling CPN to study about MCC. The task force had recommended that it should not be endorsed without amendment
Khanal, however, denied that the two discussed any political issues during the meeting. "She had come to meet me. We talked about my treatment. We did not talk politics," he stated.
Khanal had kidney transplant in India a few months back.
Vice President of the Department of Compact Operations Fatema Sumar during her Nepal visit in September had talked with Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba and top leaders of all the major political parties about the MCC. She had expressed hope that Nepal will endorse the MCC in the press conference organized before returning home.
The MCC had replied to the government's queries ahead of her visit. Sumar sent answers to the queries through the American Embassy in Nepal addressing Finance Minister Janardan Sharma. She also sent the response in Nepali language for 'transparency and accessibility' and recommended that it be made public to ensure that all Nepalis know that it benefits the people.
"The MCC Nepal Compact is a continuation of our mutual friendship and underscores the Government of Nepal's commitment to democratic principles and building a better future for all Nepalis," she replied.
She pointed that in her previous visits to Nepal, she was overwhelmed by the request for, and positive support of, an MCC partnership - from business and community leaders to members from every political party. "Unfortunately, since my last visit, there has also been an increase of false and misleading statements about MCC. MCC has no hidden agenda."
The MCC replied that the Constitution of Nepal prevails over the MCC Compact, it is not related to any defense or military strategy pointing that the US law governing the MCC prohibits it from using funding for any military purpose, all the projects to be developed under the MCC have been selected by the Nepal government and parliamentary ratification has been required to make it international agreement as the Nepal government concluded that parliamentary ratification is required to make the compact an international agreement as per the prevailing Nepali laws.
It also clarified that it is not part of Indo-Pacific Strategy and just an agreement between the MCC and the partner government concerned and any decision by Nepal on Indo-Pacific Strategy will be separate and independent from the MCC.
The MCC has been stuck at the House for a long time. It was to enter the construction phase from June 30, 2020 after House endorsement as per the previous schedule but could not be passed as the then ruling CPN was bitterly divided over the issue.
The then CPN, formed after unification of UML and CPN (Maoist Center), had hotly debated MCC even during the standing committee meeting in December 2019 with the erstwhile Maoists and those from Madhav Kumar Nepal faction of CPN-UML 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 then CPN had even formed a task force to address the issue. The party formed the task force led by senior leader Jhala Nath Khanal and including the then foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali and standing committee member Bhim Rawal as members 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 Gyawali had put a 15-point dissenting opinion.