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China promises to open, reopen more Nepal-Tibet border trade routes

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(TibetanReview.net, Jan03’23) – Now that the communists are in power in Nepal, thanks in no small measure to the success of its efforts in bringing together the two bitterly divided big communist parties, China is speaking of opening more border points for bilateral trade. Nepalis have in the past complained bitterly about the fact that even the two existing, main cross-border ports had been as good as closed over the past three years due more to its possible political or geopolitical dissatisfaction with Kathmandu than Covid-19 restrictions as claimed.

China has now hinted about bringing additional Nepal-China border points in operation for the purpose of bilateral trade, reported myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com Jan 1.

For now, speaking at the inauguration of the Pokhara Regional International Airport on Jan 1, the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of China in Nepal, Mr Wang Sheng, has said the Chinese government will open the Yari-Purang border from 2023.

Wang’s remark came just a day after China eased cross-border movement of goods via Rasuwagadhi-Kerung (Tibetan: Kyirong) land route, which had remained almost shut since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Jan 2020.

However, Wang was stated to be not sure about the reopening of the Tatopani-Khasa (Tibetan: Dram) customs, another important traditional bilateral trade route between the two sides.

Nepal shares its border with Chinese occupied Tibet over a stretch of 1,414 kilometers. China has officially opened six border points for bilateral trade via land routes. These include Kodari-Nyalam (Tatopani-Khasa), Rasuwa-Kerung, Yari (Humla)-Purang, Olangchunggola-Riwu, Kimathanka-Riwu and Nechung (Mustang)-Lizi.

Of them, however, only two trade routes – Rasuwagadhi and Tatopani – have been opened for commercial trading so far. And Chinese authorities shut even these points indefinitely since the pandemic began, the report said.

Still, China has now promised to construct dry ports in all these six land-based trading points. As of now, a dry port has been built only in Larcha of Sindhupalchowk district, which was handed over to the Nepali authorities on Jun 28, 2019. However, the inland container depot has been running in under-capacity due to disruption of trading via the route, the report said.

The report also said that with a view to ensuring the further flow of goods and people between Nepal and Tibet, the two governments had plans to develop cross-border roads through Simikot-Hilsa (85 km), Jomsom-Korala (80 km) and Khandbari-Kimanthanka (80 km) in the Nepal-Tibet border region, the report said.

Meanwhile, the two sides have started work to open the second Nepal-China land route of the Syaphrubesi-Rasuwagadhi road, the report added.

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