(TibetanReview.net, Oct13’19) – Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a 3.5 billion RMB (NRs 56 billion) to Nepal over the next two years to help the latter’s development programmes during his meeting with his counterpart Ms Bidya Devi Bhandari on Oct 12, reported the PTI news agency Oct 13. However there appeared to have been no final word yet on the extent of China’s assistance for the proposed Tibet-Nepal railway project on which there was much anticipation in Kathmandu.
And the two countries agreed to upgrade their relations to a strategic partnership of cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Oct 13. The report said Xi called on the two sides to consolidate the political foundation of bilateral ties, and set the building of a community with a shared future as a long-term goal for the development of China-Nepal relations.
The Chinese president appreciated Nepal’s firm adherence to the one-China policy, saying that China will as always support Nepal in safeguarding its national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, the report added.
Xi also pledged to upgrade the Arniko Highway linking Kathmandu with Tatopani transit point – which was shut down following the devastating earthquake of 2015 – and open more customs points facilitating connectivity, said the PTI report.
He also said a feasibility study of trans-Himalayan railway will soon start and China will also support construction of the Kerung-Kathmandu tunnel road, the report added.
“We have model friendship in the world, and there is no issue between the two countries,” the report quoted Xi as saying during a state banquet hosted by President Bhandari on Oct 12 in his honour.
“We want to support Nepal in realising its dream to become a land-linked country from the landlocked country,” the Chinese president was quoted as saying, echoing Nepal’s desperate bid to reduce its over-reliance on India for global connectivity.
Bhandari was reported to have reiterated her country’s commitment to ‘One-China policy’, vowing to not allow any force to use its territory against China.
Nepal shares a long border with Tibet and is home to around 20,000 Tibetan exiles.
Xi was the first Chinese president to visit Nepal in 23 years, following that of Jiang Zemin in 1996.