China, Nepal pledge closer cooperation for common development

W020160321553762325792BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held talks with his Nepali counterpart K. P. Sharma Oli on Monday and they agreed to expand reciprocal cooperation between the two countries in pursuit of common development.

Hailing the traditional friendship and cooperation, Li said China firmly supports Nepal’s efforts to safeguard sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity as well as the Nepali people’s choice of development path, and will not interfere in Nepal’s internal affairs.

“China looks forward to seeing a peaceful and prosperous Nepal,” Li said, adding that China stands ready to enhance political trust, expand cooperation and increase coordination in international and regional affairs with Nepal.

The premier pledged that China will boost practical cooperation in “key” areas with Nepal, including connectivity, industrial capacity, oil and gas, trade, tourism and law enforcement.

Li hoped the two sides will start feasibility studies on a bilateral free-trade agreement (FTA) so as to launch FTA negotiations at an early date.

The Chinese government will encourage Chinese banks to set up branches in Nepal, Li added.

Oli, on his first official visit to China as Nepali Prime Minister, said the traditional Nepal-China friendship will not be affected by any external factor, which has set an example for relationship between countries of different sizes and different political systems.

Nepal adheres to the one-China policy and will not allow any activity on the Nepali territory that will impair China’s interests, said the prime minister.

Hailing China’s support for Nepal’s independence and development as well as the neighborhood diplomacy featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, Oli said his country looks forward to benefiting from China’s peaceful development and will actively participate in China’s “Belt and Road” initiative.

Nepal hopes to expand cooperation with China on infrastructure, energy, agriculture, finance, trans-border trade, tourism and education to advance the bilateral relationship in a sustained way, said the prime minister.

After their talks, Li and Oli witnessed the signing of a string of cooperation documents, involving areas such as transport, trade, energy and finance.

Prior to the talks, Li held a red-carpet ceremony to welcome the visiting prime minister. Later this week, Oli will attend the annual conference of Boao Forum for Asia in China’s southern province of Hainan.

During Oli’s visit, China and Nepal will issue a joint statement later.


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