(TibetanReview.net, Jul22, 2015) – China is already conducting a feasibility study for extending its rail network in occupied Tibet further 540 km southward from Shigatse to Jilong (near Kerung or Kyirong) and to Yadong (Yatung or Dromo) Towns near the borders of Nepal and India, respectively, reported Nepal’s ekantipur.com Jul 20, citing an official of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The report also cited the official as saying the railway network could be extended to Kathmandu, and even to Lumbini, based on the willingness of the two governments.
Meeting with a group of Nepali and Indian journalists on a Chinese government-sponsored visit to Tibet’s capital Lhasa a few weeks ago, Ji Guogang, director of TAR for development and reform commission, said that the works on railway expansion to the towns would begin once the feasibility study is completed, the report added.
The report noted that Kerung in Tibet was less than 35km from Nepal’s border district of Rasuwa, while Yadong in Tibet was 100km from Gangtok, the capital of the Indian state of Sikkim. And Kathmandu is around 100km away from Rasuwa.
“TAR has been important channel for China-Nepal interaction. Therefore, connectivity of highway, railway and aviation are important aspects of bilateral relationship between China and Nepal,” Guogang was further quoted as saying, speaking in the presence of other senior officials of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) TAR committee, including Wu Yinggjie, the first deputy secretary of the committee.
The report noted that China had agreed in principle to extend the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Nepal’s border and that its extension inside Nepali territory had been a subject of bilateral discussions on many occasions.
The report quoted Guogang as saying, responding to a pointed question if the railway network will reach up to Kathmandu: “Chairman Mao [Mao Zedong] already said that the railway network should be connected to Kathmandu. I believe your wish will come true.”
The report also noted that the Press Trust of India had reported Jul 2 that China had proposed a trilateral economic corridor with India through Nepal and a railway line linking the three nations via Tibet. It was reported to have quoted Huang Xilian, deputy director general of the Asian Affairs Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, as saying the India-Nepal-China Corridor was a major initiative to promote the connectivity in the region especially between China and India and help quake-hit Nepal.
Meanwhile, construction works on the railway link connecting Lhasa to Nyingchi (Tibetan: NYingtri) were underway, Chinese officials were cited as saying. The Nyingchi Prefecture is close to Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed as a disputed territory by China.