Kathmandu: In a bid to woo its land-locked southern neighbour, China on Saturday offered USD 135 million in aid to Nepal to beef up its infrastructure and security during a brief and surprise visit by the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
   
Holding hectic parleys with Nepalese counterpart Baburam Bhattarai, the country's President Ram Baran Yadav, Maoist chief Prachanda and leaders of other parties, Wen inked as many as eight agreements amid a virtual media blackout.
   
His trip was conducted in complete secrecy and under heavy security lockdown with police and paramilitary forces deployed in strengths in and around the capital. The security forces had as a precautionary measure detained large number of Tibetan refugees apparently to bar them from holding demonstration.
     
"The visit has proven a milestone in the development of friendly ties between the two neighbouring countries," Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha told reporters.
   
The delegation level talks headed by Bhattarai and Wen were held in a cordial atmosphere and the two sides agreed to strengthen bilateral relations, expanding economic cooperation, he said.
   
Under a series of agreements, Beijing agreed to provide massive assistance for a number of Nepal's infrastructure projects and also bankroll the modernisation of the country's police. China offered a 750 million RMB (USD 113) in aid to Nepal during the visit by Wen.
   
Wen announced USD 20 million as one time special grant to Nepal. He also pledged to provide an annual grant assistance of 200 million RMB to Nepal this year as part of 750 million RMB worth three years grant assistance under economic and technical cooperation, according to Shrestha.

China has also pledged to provide 4 million RMB to strengthen the Armed Police Force of Nepal and 10 million RMB to Nepal Police for enhancing its capacity.
   
The agreements include among other things, relating to Management of Dry Ports along Nepal-China border, MoU on strengthening cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign
Affairs of the two countries, agreement on economic and technical cooperation between the two governments.
   
The agreements also include, exchange on notes between the two countries on building Armed Police Force college, agreement relating to providing police equipment to the
Ministry of Home and MoU on operationalisation of loan mechanism between the two governments and Exim Bank of China.
   
China is one of the biggest investors in Nepal, financing highways, power projects and other development projects. Wen is the first high-ranking Chinese leader to visit Nepal in a decade after a visit by then premier Zhu Rongji in 2001.
   
During the talk, the two sides also clarified their policies governing the bilateral relations and expressed views that both the countries have common stand in many regional and international issues, Shrestha said.
   
During the bilateral meeting, Premier Bhattarai briefed the Wen about the current political situation of Nepal and progress made in the ongoing peace process and the constitution drafting process, he said.
   
Prime Minister Bhattarai told Premier Wen that Nepal government is moving forward in concluding the peace process and constitution drafting by forging cooperation and collaboration, Shrestha said.
   
The Chinese premier is accompanied by around a dozen ministers including those carrying foreign, commerce and National Development and Reforms portfolios. The visit was reportedly kept under wraps due to security reasons and threats of protests by the Tibetan refugees. Nepal in the recent months tightened restrictions on the Tibetan refugees following pressure from China.
   
The Chinese Prime Minister's visit was held amidst tightest security with even newsmen not allowed to enter the airport as well as Singhdurbar where the talks were held.
   
Only few photographers and cameramen belonging to state run media were allowed inside where talks were held. The Chinese leader said that he is fully hopeful that the peace process and the constitution making process will be complete at the earliest. On the occasion Wen appreciated Nepal's one China policy and its ways to handle the Tibetan issues.
   
During the luncheon, the top leaders of various political parties had interaction with Chinese Prime Minister in a cordial atmosphere, Shrestha said.
   
"All the political leaders on the occasion expressed their common views regarding Nepal-China relations. All the political leaders reiterated their commitment that Nepal always upholds one-China policy. They also expressed their view that Nepal will always honour genuine concerns and worries of the northern neighbour," he said.
     
They also said in one voice that Nepal will not allow any activity directed against Chinese interest from Nepalese soil.
     
He said China will always extend its cooperation to Nepal in attaining peace, stability, development and achieving economic progress and defending sovereignty of the country.
   
The Chinese leader's tour here comes apparently to compensate the sudden cancellation of his scheduled tour to the country last month.
   
Wen arrived in Kathmandu on a special aircraft at 11.45 am local time amidst extra-ordinarily beefed up security and media restrictions.
   
An hour before the Chinese PM's arrival four persons including two women carrying Chinese passports were detained from Narayanhity Palace Museum area with the suspicion of being Tibetan activists. Two of them were wearing monk dress.
   
Earlier, Bhattarai and his two deputies Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar reached the Tribhuvan International Airport for his welcome.


(Agencies)