Nepal govt to revamp diplomatic code of conduct to 'tame' Beijing

Topics Nepal | India Nepal ties | China

File photo of Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli. Photo: Reuters
Amid increasing criticism for its failure to monitor the frequent meetings between political leaders and foreign diplomats, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nepal has started revising and reactivate its diplomatic code of conduct, according to a national media daily.

The new code, when it comes into effect, will not allow any meeting to take place between a foreign envoy and the leadership of various political parties in Nepal. 

The code, reportedly, comes in the backdrop of increasing Chinese influence in the internal matters of Nepal. “We are working to update and reissue the diplomatic code of conduct by bringing political party leaders under its purview so that there is accountability,” Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali told The Kathmandu Post.

Standard protocol

The foreign ministry wants Nepal to have its own diplomatic protocol just like any other nation. In 2016, then foreign minister Kamal Thapa decided to revisit the code of conduct with a view to implementing it, however, it did not materialise. Later, Prakash Sharan Mahat and Krishna Bahadur Mahara as foreign ministers also tried revising it, but without success.

Preparations underway

The foreign affairs ministry has dispatched seven section officers to all the seven provinces to ensure that chief ministers, ministers and officials abide by the diplomatic code while meeting with foreign dignitaries, the Post said.

Right from the President to party leaders, parliamentarians, constitutional bodies, office bearers, officials above the under-secretary level and officials of security agencies — all would have to abide by the new code.

Chinese influence

The decision on overhauling the structure was made after Chinese ambassador Hou Yanqi reached out to Nepal Communist Party leader Jhala Nath Khanal in July, continuing her outreach to NCP leaders who had joined hands to push out Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. The meetings had triggered criticism, raising questions on the envoy’s role in the internal politics of the Himalayan kingdom.

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