BEIJING: China today welcomed the merger of Nepal's two Communist parties, one headed by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and the other by former premier Prachanda, saying it supports the country's choices to develop its social system.
The ruling CPN-UML, led by Oli, and Prachanda's CPN-Maoist Centre yesterday merged to form the Nepal Communist Party - the country's largest Leftist party.
"As a good neighbour and friend to Nepal, China supports Nepal's independent choice for the social system and development path that suits its own national conditions and we welcome the merging of the two parties," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said here.
"We also wish that they can achieve national development goals at an early date.
We are willing to continue our mutual beneficial cooperation for the benefit of both the countries and people," he said.
Both the factions headed by Oli and Prachanda maintain close ties with the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
The new Nepal Communist Party has a strength of 175 members in the 275-member House of Representatives, which is a nearly two-third majority.
As per the terms of agreement of the unification of the two parties, Oli and Prachanda will lead the unified party and a nine-member secretariat, and enjoy equal power.
The advent of the Nepalese Communist parties to power has broadened China's political influence in Nepal while Beijing consolidates its presence with big investments and infrastructure projects, affecting India's close ties with the Himalayan country.
During his last tenure as prime minister in 2015, Oli had signed the transit treaty to end dependence on India for his landlocked country and improve rail and road links between Nepal and China through Tibet.