Sunday, 3 March, 2024

Wang’s Visit Enhances Nepal-China Relations

Nepal-China bilateral cooperation has gained a new momentum that was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The two nations have signed nine agreements on an array of areas ranging from cross-border power grid and railway connections and Chinese aid to trade and technical cooperation during Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s three-day official visit to Nepal. These deals between the two neighbours attest to the fact that their mutual bond and friendship are not affected by other geopolitical elements precipitated by globalisation and rivalry among the regional and global powers. Wang is the highest Chinese official to make a sojourn in Nepal since the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2019. He held talks with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Narayan Khadka, opposition leader and CPN-UML chair KP Sharma Oli and CPN-Maoist Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda. These parleys have strengthened the friendly trust and understanding between the two nations.

Both the nations have affirmed their commitment to building Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network for the construction of physical infrastructure in the border area essential for further strengthening relations between two peoples and promoting bilateral trade and commerce. The deal on feasibility study of China-Nepal cross-border railway project is very important. Once Nepal-China railway dream comes true, it will enhance connectivity, trade, investment and tourism in the country. Other agreements include maintenance of Arniko Highway (third phase), cooperation in the railway sector, Nepal’s grass export to China, duty free access of 98 per cent Nepali goods to China, supplying 4 million doses of Sinovac vaccine to Nepal, and sending a team of Chinese doctors to BP Koirala Cancer Hospital in Bharatpur, Chitwan. Under the agreement on economic and technical cooperation, China has agreed to provide Nepal with a grant of RMB 600 million for the year 2020.

Visiting Chinese Minister Wang has assured to cooperate for the return of Nepali students to China to continue their studies on a priority basis and agreed to start the process at the earliest. Underlining the importance of continuously maintaining Nepal-China border peaceful and tranquil in the spirit of the Boundary Treaty, the two foreign ministers have agreed to carry out joint inspections of Nepal-China boundary through mutual consultations. The two sides have decided to resume, at an early date, the passenger air services suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They underscored the need for fully operationalising the Tatopani/Zhangmu and Rasuwagadi/Kerung border ports for two-way movement of goods between Nepal and China. Nepal has appreciated China's continuous support in Nepal’s development endeavours, and thanked it for the completion of development projects such as Araniko Highway’s Long-term Opening Maintenance Project (Phase III) and Pokhara International Regional Airport.

It is imperative for both sides to expedite the implementation of ongoing projects and the agreements and understandings reached between the two countries in the past. The two foreign ministers have called for forging partnership to overcome the economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and to focus on COVID-19 response and recovery. They have underscored the importance of the exchange of high-level visits on a regular basis in order to strengthen mutual trust and confidence and to further consolidate Nepal-China relations, according to the news report of this daily. Nepal has reiterated its commitment to One China policy and not to allow any activity against China on its soil. Both sides have reaffirmed their support for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national independence of each other. Wang's visit is expected to take Nepal-China relations to a newer height and expand the scope of existing economic cooperation.