Dahal's visit not China card: Maoist minister

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Kathmandu, Aug 23 (UNI) Nepalese Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dev Gurung said Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal's China visit should not be taken as a 'China card' against India.

''This visit is not anti-India or a China card, a Kantipur report quoted Mr Gurung as saying.

Nepal wanted to maintain good relations with both India and China, he said.

''Mr Dahal's decision to visit China as a maiden tour to a foreign country, breaking the previous trend of visiting India first by a newly-elected Prime Minister, has been a surprise in the diplomatic circle,'' the report said.

The Prime Minister is on a visit to China, breaking the previous tradition of Nepal. The Himalayan republic's Prime Ministers visit India before embarking to any other foreign country.

Earlier, a senior leader of the Maoist CP Gajurel had told the BBC Nepali Service that India had expressed unhappiness over Mr Dahal's visit to China, saying it was too early to visit China.

Mr Dahal left for China today to attend the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics where he is scheduled to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao and other senior officials during the five-day-visit.

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