Nepal- China relations
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Access to seaports
2018: China allows Nepal use of seaports to end India’s monopoly
Kathmandu Gets Access To China’s Ports, Ending Dependence On India For Supply Of Essential Goods, Trade
China will allow Nepal the use of four of its ports, the Nepalese government said on Friday, as the landlocked Himalayan nation seeks to end India’s monopoly over its trading routes by increasing connections with Beijing.
Wedged between China and India, Nepal depends heavily on India for the supply of essential goods including fuel and the use of its ports for trade with other countries. But Kathmandu has sought access to Chinese ports to reduce dependence on India since a prolonged blockade of its border crossings with India in 2015 and 2016 left the country short of fuel and medicine for several months.
Officials from Nepal and China finalised the protocol of Transit and Transport Agreement (TTA) during a meeting in Kathmandu on Friday giving Nepal access to the Chinese ports at Tianjin, Shenzhen, Lianyungang and Zhanjiang, a statement from Nepal’s commerce ministry said. It said China had also agreed to allow Nepal use its dry (land) ports at Lanzhou, Lhasa and Xigatse as well as roads to these facilities.
The arrangements will come into effect when the protocol is signed, an official said without giving a date. “This is one of the milestones because we are getting access to four Chinese ports in addition to two ports in India,” Rabi Shankar Sainju, a commerce ministry official, said. He said Nepali cargo from Japan, South Korea and other north Asian countries could be routed through China which would cut shipping time and costs. Overland trade is now routed mainly through the port of Kolkata which takes up to three months, officials said. Delhi has also opened the port at Vishakhapatnam for Nepali trade.
Traders say the plan to connect the country with China could face issues due to a lack of proper roads and customs infrastructure on the Nepalese side of the border. The nearest Chinese port is also located more than 2,600km from its border. “Nepal must develop proper infrastructure for smooth access to Chinese ports. Without this simply opening of ports will not be useful,” said an exporter. China is making fast inroads into Nepal with aid and investment, challenging India’s long-held position as the dominant outside power.
Encroachment on Nepalese land
2019: Taplejung, Solukhmbu, Dolakha, Gorkha, Manang, Humla, Darchula
Nepal: China encroaching on our land
China is encroaching upon Nepal’s land through an ongoing road expansion project in Tibet, said the ministry of agriculture. According to data provided by the ministry, 36 hectares of land in four different districts touching the China border now fall into the Chinese side.
By diverting the direction of rivers towards the Nepal side, China has encroached upon several acres of land that belonged to the country, the ministry concluded. “Nepal would lose a hundred acres of land to the Tibetian side,” its report said.
The Nepal government is set to start a land survey in districts adjoining Chinese territory, namely Taplejung, Solukhmbu, Dolakha, Gorkha, Manang, Humla and Darchula, to check encroachment there. PTI
According to reports from Kathmandu, China had encroached on Nepali land and built nine buildings in the district of Humla . A government team led by the chief district officer also conducted an on-site study.
China’s encroachment: Nepal protesters burn Xi’s effigies
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s effigies was burnt during a protest in several districts in Nepal against Bejing for encroaching upon a chunk of the Himalayan nation’s land.
The protesters hit the streets of Saptari, Bardiya, Kapilvastu district on Monday and chanted anti-China slogans. The protesters held placards, banners and chanted slogans such as “Go back China and Return Nepali land” during the demonstrations.
The protest comes after a survey report recently released by the Survey Department stated that China has encroached upon 36 hectare land of Nepal.
The data revealed that around six hectares of land in the Bhagdare river in Humla district and four hectares of land in Karnali district have been encroached upon, which now falls in Tibet’s Furang area. Similarly, around six hectares of Nepali land in Sanjen river and Jambhu Khola of Rasuwa, have also fallen into Kerung in southern Tibet.
China has also encroached upon more than 10 hectares of land in Sindhupalchowk district’s Bhotekoshi and Kharanekhola areas, which are now under Nyalam area of Tibet, the report said. AGENCIES
2017: dual-use highway from China to Nepal via Tibet
China has opened a strategic highway in Tibet to the Nepal border.
The highway could be used for civilian and defence purposes.
China has been stepping efforts to improve road connectivity between Tibet and Nepal.
China has opened a strategic highway in Tibet to the Nepal border which could be used for civilian and defence purposes, a move that Chinese experts say will enable Beijing to make forays into South Asia, according to a media report.
The 40.4-kilometre highway in Tibet between Xigaze airport and Xigaze city centre officially opened to the public on Friday with a short section linking the national highway to the Nepal border. The highway will shorten the journey from an hour to 30 minutes between the dual-use civil and military airport and Tibet's second-largest city.
State-run 'Global Times' quoted experts as saying that the highway "will enable China to forge a route into South Asia in both economic and defence terms" and being a forerunner to a railway line connecting Nepal.
Geographically, any extension of the road and railway connectivity to South Asia is through India, Bhutan and to Bangladesh.
Chinese officials have said in the past that the projects are feasible and could become a trade corridor for India and China if New Delhi comes on board.
The new road runs parallel with the Xigaze-Lhasa railway and links the city's ring roads with the 5,476-kilometre G318 highway from Shanghai to Zhangmu on the Nepal border, the report said. As part of G318, the highway connects the border town of Zhangmu with Lhasa, the provincial capital of Tibet. It can link with the future cross-border Sino-Nepali railway, said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.
The G318 with Xigaze in the middle connects to Nepal on one end and other end links to Nyingchi, the Tibetan town close to Arunachal Pradesh border. The highway runs very close to the border. China has been stepping efforts to improve road connectivity between Tibet and Nepal while speeding up plans to build a railway line connecting to Nepal's border after K P Sharma Oli, pro-China former Nepalese Prime Minister, signed a Transit Trade Treaty with Beijing last year during his tenure.
Oli signed the treaty at the height of the Madhesi agitation and their blockade of Indian goods to provide a major opening for China to reduce the dependence of the landlocked country on India, even as the transportation of essentials through the Himalayan terrain of Tibet would entail heavy costs for Nepal.
However, since the fall of Oli government, China's plans to speed up its efforts to make forays into Nepal through infrastructure expansion slowed down even though Kathmandu signed up for Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative in May 2017.
The 25-meter-wide highway between Xigaze peace airport and Xigaze has four double lanes and is classified a first-tier highway, the Tibet Financial Daily reported. "Highways in China are of a high standard including the one in Tibet. It can be used by armoured vehicles and as a runway for planes to take off when it has to serve a military purpose," Zhao said.
"The road is Tibet's first real highway. It is our gift toward the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China," Wei Qianggao, deputy head of the Tibet transportation department was quoted as saying by the Global Times.
As an important infrastructure programme in the 13th Five-Year Plan and a core section of Tibet highway network, the road will benefit the export-oriented economy of Xigaze and the complex traffic around Lhasa, Wei said.
Over five years, the standard of highways in Tibet and the traffic network have been gradually improved, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Wang Jinhe, another official from the Tibet transportation department, the report said.
The total highway mileage in Tibet reached more than 80,000 kilometres in 2016, increasing nearly 19,000 kilometres since 2011, Wang said.
Politics, domestic, of Nepal
2020: China justifies interference
China mouthpiece cites ‘huge Nepal investments’ to defend interference
Following China’s call for all sides in the Nepal political crisis to “properly” address internal disputes, mouthpiece Global Times quoted ‘experts’ to assert that Beijing’s efforts to resolve the intra-party conflict are entirely reasonable and legitimate.
It also cited China’s “huge investment” in Nepal to justify what many in Kathmandu have described as blatant interference in Nepal’s domestic affairs. According to Nepal media reports, the Chinese delegation has stressed on political stability in Nepal and the need for Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to remain united.
Efforts to keep the party united haven’t found much traction though with Nepal leaders pointing out to the head of the Chinese delegation vice-minister Guo Yezhou and others that first the Supreme Court has to rule on the validity, or lack thereof, of Oli’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives. Significantly As Nepal witnessed street protests against Oli’s “unconstitutional” move, chairman of Dahal faction M K Nepal said the party can still remain united if Oli accepts his mistake.
Global Times though said, quoting academics, that China has huge investments in and deep cooperation with Nepal under the Belt and Road Initiative and, as a neighbour, China has a legitimate reason to be concerned about the internal situation in Nepal and to provide assistance to partners which, it added, is not interfering in its internal affairs. It also said the inter-party exchanges between CPC and NCP or other Nepali parties are not India’s business, and even if the CPC is providing assistance to mediate the intra-party conflict, or sharing experiences on solving such problems, it was entirely reasonable and legitimate.
2020: In seven border districts
KATHMANDU: China's expansionist designs are going unchecked in Nepal as it is slowly and gradually encroaching Nepali land at multiple locations with the tacit support of the present dispensation headed by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.
According to a report by the Survey Department of Agriculture Ministry of Nepal, China has illegally occupied Nepali land at several places spread over seven border districts. The report stated Beijing is fast moving forward and further pushing Nepali boundaries by encroaching more and more landmass.
It is important to note that the data is being under-reported and the actual scenario could be worse as the Nepali Communist Party (NCP) is trying to shield the expansionist agenda of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
It is believed that China has made inroads into several other areas of Nepal, occupied land, and slowly progressing within the country. Prime Minister KP Oli government has preferred to keep mum over the 'illegal occupation' of the village by China under fears of displeasing the CCP.
The Nepali districts which are victims of China's land-grabbing plan including Dolakha, Gorkha, Darchula, Humla, Sindhupalchowk, Sankhuwasabha and Rasuwa.
According to the surveying and mapping department of Nepal, China has pushed the international boundary 1,500 meters towards Nepal in Dolakha.
It has pushed the boundary pillar Number 57 in the Korlang area in Dolakha, which was previously located at top of Korlang.
The pillar has been an issue of confrontation between the two countries and China pressurised the Nepali government not to sign the fourth protocol on resolving and managing border disputes between the two countries as China wanted to maintain the status quo and further transgress the boundary arrangements.
The surveying and mapping department has also reported that China has occupied Nepali villages in Gorkha and Darchula districts. Similar to Dolakha, China has relocated Boundary Pillar Numbers 35, 37 and 38 in Gorkha district and Boundary Pillar Number 62 in Nampa Bhanjyang in Solukhumbu.
The first three pillars were located in Gorkha's Rui village and areas of Tom River. Though Nepal's official map shows the village as a part of Nepali territory and citizens of the village have been paying taxes to Nepal government, China had occupied the region and merged it with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China in 2017.
Similarly, the Human Rights Commission has reported that a portion of the Jiujiu Village of Darchula has also been occupied by China.
Numerous houses that used to be a part of Nepal have been now taken over by China and assimilated into the Chinese territory.
Besides the reports of land grabbing by the two Nepali agencies, the Ministry of Agriculture also recently came up with a report highlighting multiple cases of land grabbing by China.
The ministry reported about China's occupation of Nepali land in at least 11 places falling under four Nepali districts. Most of the areas occupied in these districts are catchment areas of rivers, including areas of Bhagdare river in Humla, Karnali river, Sanjen river, and Lemde river in Rasuwa; Bhurjug river, Kharane river, and Jambu river in Sindhupalchowk, Bhotekoshi river and Samjug river in Sankhuwasabha; Kamkhola river and Arun river.
Nepal has refrained itself from going ahead with the border talks with China since 2005 as the Nepali government does not want to offend China by reclaiming Nepali land and at the same time dodge criticism at the domestic front for losing territory to China. The Nepali government has also suspended the 2012 border talks to save itself from getting into an indecisive situation.
In June, members of the opposition Nepali Congress moved a resolution in the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Nepalese Parliament, asking the Oli government to restore the country's territory, which had been encroached upon by China.
The Nepali Congress lawmakers alleged that China had encroached 64 hectares of land in Dolakha, Humla, Sindhupalchowk, Sankhuwasabha, Gorkha and Rasuwa districts of the country.
They alleged that few of the total 98 boundary pillars along the 1414.88 km long border between Nepal and China had gone missing while several others had been shifted inside the territory of Nepal.
Recent reports have suggested that the Chinese Communist Party has been dominating the decision-making processes in Nepal.
The Chinese ambassador to Nepal recently played mediator to sort out differences between the Oli and Prachanda factions of the NCP.
2020: Humla district (Karnali province)
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has constructed at least nine buildings on the Nepal side of the Nepal-China border in the remote Humla district in Karnali province of Nepal.
Sources confirmed to TOI that the encroachment — which happened around 2km from the border in the Lapcha-Limi area of Namkha gaupalika (rural municipality) of Humla — was first spotted almost a month ago by Vishnu Bahadur Lama, chairman of the Namkha municipality.
The sources said that Lama was not permitted to visit the area by PLA soldiers who were also stopping local Nepalese villagers from entering the area where the buildings are located. He thereafter reported the matter to local district officials who constituted a team to visit the area between August 30 and September 9.
The team recently submitted its report to the Nepalese ministry of home affairs and ministry of foreign affairs. TOI tried to contact the chief district officer of Humla, Chiranjeevi Giri to ascertain the contents of the report but he could not be reached.
Sources said that China has been making inroads into the Lapcha-Limi area for several years. “The area borders the Tibet Autonomous Region and is a strategic location which offers a clear view of Kailash Mansarovar. Almost 10 years ago, when a road in the area was being built, China had constructed a building in Lapcha-Limi. When Nepal objected, China said that it was a veterinary centre for goods-carrying animals and would benefit people on both sides,” a source said.
Another Nepal-based source who is familiar with the socio-economic landscape of the area told TOI that most people in the Lapcha-Limi area as well as other parts of Humla are dependent on work at the Taklakot mandi in the Tibet Autonomous region.
Since the past few months, there have been reports of China allegedly diverting the course of rivers while constructing roads in the Tibet Autonomous Region as a result of which some of the rivers flowing into Nepal have altered course, allowing China to occupy the land near these rivers claiming it to be part of its territory.
Meanwhile, a party functionary of the Nepalese Congress who hails from the Humla area told TOI that his party will be putting pressure on the Oli government to take back the land occupied by the Chinese. “We have urged them to resolve the matter with China by holding talks with them and will continue to put pressure on them,” said the leader who did not wish to be named.
The PLA has constructed at least nine buildings on the Nepal side of the Nepal-China border in the remote Humla district of Nepal
Kathmandu mayor cancels China trip over new map\ 2023
Nepal Student Union, one of the largest student political outfits in Nepal, staged a demonstration outside the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu, demanding a “correction” in the new map released by China.
The protesters claimed that areas like Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura (which lie in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, but which Nepal has been claiming as its own) have not been correctly depicted in the new map released by China which shows them as being part of India. Though the Nepal government did not officially respond to the new China map, Kathmandu mayor Balendra Shah on Thursday cancelled his scheduled trip to China. A report in Nepalese daily, ‘The Kathmandu Post’ cited Shah posting on social media that “the step by China to show Nepali territory as that of India is wrong.” “I have decided not to embark on a five-day visit at China’s invitation on moral grounds,” he was quoted as saying.
The India-Nepal border row had sparked off in May, 2020, after defence minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a 74-km road stretching from Ghatiyabagar to Lipulekh Pass. Nepal had lodged a protest, alleging that the road passed through its territory. Subsequently, Nepalese parliament unanimously voted to amend the constitution to update the country’s map to include the Kalapani region as part of its territory.
China hails Nepal’s independent foreign policy
China has praised the new Nepal government’s claim of pursuing an independent foreign policy.
China “commends the Nepal government’s commitment towards an independent foreign policy”, Lu Kang, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday, soon after KP Sharma Oli, a strong supporter of China, took charge as Nepal’s PM.
China’s official media has been bitterly criticising New Delhi for allegedly making Nepal “economically reliant” on India. China has been striving to push forth its business agenda like project construction and also eye the Himalayan kingdom as a future strategic asset, observers said.
Oli had signed a series of deals allowing Chinese companies to build railways, roads and other projects in Nepal during his last tenure as PM in 2016. Those plans were not implemented after he lost power. Beijing expects those deals to be revived now.
At the same time, China is also making the right kind of diplomatic parleys. China “supports Nepal developing friendly and positive relations with its neighbours,” Lu said. “China, Nepal and India are important neighbours to each other. We hope the three sides can work together, have some sound interactions and achieve common development,” he added.
Earlier, Oli had criticised India for interfering in Nepal’s internal matters and accused it of toppling his last government.
$2.5bn hydropower contract restored to Chinese company
Nepal’s new government has reversed its predecessor’s decision and has asked China Gezhouba Group Corporation to build the nation’s biggest hydropower plant, an official said on Sunday, as it seeks to woo Chinese investment in its ailing infrastructure. The $2.5 billion deal with the Gezhouba Group to build the Budhi Gandaki hydroelectric project was scrapped last year by the previous government, citing lapses in the award process. State-run Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) was to have built it.
But PM K P Sharma Oli, seen as China-friendly, pledged to revert the project to the Chinese company if he was elected to power in last year’s elections. Oli became prime minister in February after his Nepal Communist Party scored a landslide poll victory.
“Yes, the Budhi Gandaki has been given back to the Gezhouba Group,” said Roshan Khadka, an aide to energy minister Barsa Man Pun. “It is ... restoring the project to the Chinese company,” Khadka said. He did not give further details of the decision taken by the cabinet on Friday night.
China and India are both jostling for influence in Nepal by providing aid and investment in infrastructure projects. Officials said a formal construction deal will be signed on the hydropower project after the government had negotiated the project modalities with the Chinese company. No date for this was given.
Mandarin made mandatory in many schools
Nepal schools make Mandarin compulsory after China offers to pay teachers' salaries
KATHMANDU: A Chinese government's proposal of covering salaries of teachers in Nepal who teach Mandarin have prompted many private schools in the Himalayan nation to make it mandatory for students to learn the language, according to a media report.
The move came at a time when the Chinese involvement in Nepal is surging, largely on the back of Beijing's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a project boycotted by India as it comprises the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Many schools across Nepal have made it mandatory for students to learn Chinese lured by the Chinese government's offer to cover salaries of teachers who teach Mandarin, the Himalayan Times reported.
However, as per the guidelines laid down by the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC), a government body which designs school-level academic curriculum, schools in Nepal are allowed to teach foreign languages, but they cannot make those subjects mandatory for students.
The schools were aware of the provision, but they overlooked it as they are getting Mandarin teachers for free, the report said.
Also, as per the CDC rules, schools are not allowed to teach any foreign language within school hours, but none of the schools has obliged despite being aware of the provision, it said.