In an interview on a TV show in Nepal – AP1 — the new US Ambassador to Nepal H E Dean R Thompson has shared his country’s views on US policy on Nepal including Chinese engagement with Nepal.
The interview, conducted in English, can be accessed at this link:
US Ambassador in Nepal media on US-Nepal ties and Nepal’s geopolitical challenges
Ambassador Thompson has said that the US is looking at “how to create a situation and help Nepal exercise its sovereignty and create the space that it needs to make decisions that are in best interests of the Nepali people.”
Responding to a question about Nepal’s feeling pressure from US and China, he explains: “I can’t say there will never be pressure – all countries feel pressure –we want to do best things for our country.” But he also said that the US wanted to see in Nepal that the decisions are made by its democratic processes and that was certainly in the interests of the United States and others.
Regarding China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the ambassador says that it’s the Nepali people who decide what they want but the US can certainly provide a model for Nepal which it can use for evaluating other projects coming from other places. If there would be any reservation from US side on Chinese investment in Nepal, according to Ambassador Thompson, that would “be simply be on the terms under which Nepal takes on these obligations.”
He said that the MCC and Indo-Pacific strategy got lot of bad information and disinformation – MCC was done through consultative processes with Nepal and that he was not sure why China had to make comments about that.
Referring to US Secretary of State Blinken’s recent remarks on China, Thompson said that US policy was not designed to check China’s rise but to make sure that the countries’ preferred system of governance would be a democracy. But he did mention that China’s BRI was a “means to exercise [China’s] influence” in the South Asian region and beyond.
The ambassador is “bullish” about US-Nepal ties as several US institutions like USAID, DFC, MCC and Peace Corps are active in Nepal. The DFC has already been investing millions in local financing in Nepal, he said. US has just opened the American Chamber of Commerce Nepal Chapter and the Chamber to facilitate American investment in Nepal. US has begun to work on the field of cyber security and Artificial Intelligence as Nepal’s tech talent can make this field a leapfrog for Nepal’s economic growth and development.
Read this also: US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina Teplitz (2015-2018) on Nepal-China ties, MCC and Tibetan refugees’ policy