One Road One Belt initiative important for Nepal and Bangladesh : Chinese official

Gopal Khanal (Beijing, Nov 5)–China has expressed hope that Nepal’s crisis would be resolved soon through dialogue.

Hinting the ongoing acute fuel shortage and prevailing unrest in Terai, Deputy Director General of the Department of Asian Affairs at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hou Yanqi said that Nepal will find a solution very soon. However, she did not mention India in her deliberation.

”We think the crisis could be resolved soon through dialogue. We are aware that Indian Prime
Minister Narendra Modi congratulated new prime Minister KP Sharma Oli immediately after his election as the head of the government” she said.

The Chinese official’s remarks has come at a time when India has been imposing a deliberate blockade against Nepal’s expressing displeasure on Nepal’s new constitution adopted on Sept 20.

She urged Nepal to maintain good relations with India saying that India has been helping Nepal. She said that China is aware about the latest political situation in Nepal and is ready to extend assistance and is interested to export petroleum products to Nepal in accordance with Nepal’s interests.

”We have dispatched some emergency assistance to Nepal through border points. We have also sent some fuel to Nepal through theTibet Autonomous Region but due to the difficult topography we can’t deliver the amount that we want now,” she said.

She said that China is looking for long term comprehensive partnership with Nepal on border transport and trade. ”We are exploring long-term relation with Nepal and expand trade through many border points via effective transportations in the days to come” she said.

“China has a policy of providing more assistance to developing neighbours,” she said adding ” China should give more assistance to neighbour countries. We have the obligation to help our friends”.

Nepal and China are friends linked through common rivers and Himalayas and both the countries have been enjoying cordial relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in Aug 1, 1955.

Applauding Nepal’s long-standing One China policy, she said China has also been reciprocally supporting Nepal’s national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

”We appreciate that Nepal is continuing its adherence to China’s policy in Tibet and Taiwain” she added. South Asia is major part of our foreign policy, she said.

”Without peace and stability in the neighbourhood, we cannot develop ourselves,” she said adding China wants to see a peaceful, stable and prosperous South Asia as it believes China cannot develop without this.

“Not only China, the whole region will not be developed without peace and stability here [in South Asia]. This is the basic issue,” Yanqi said.

Yanqi said the bilateral exchanges between China and South Asian countries have increased significantly. She said trade between China
and South Asian countries was over $100 billion and Chinese investment in those countries stood at $7.2 billion last year.

Stressing the need to take measures to balance the huge trade deficit with Nepal and Bangladesh, she said that China wants to reduce trade deficit. ”We would like to see Nepal and Bangladesh to be integrated in the development process through close linkages with China” she said.

In recent years, high level exchanges between Nepal and China have been taking place time to time. Nepal’s former president Ram Baran Yadav visited China twice during his eight-year tenure and Chinese former prime minister Wen Jiabao paid a milestone visit to Nepal in 2012. Current Chinese foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Nepal twice in 2015 alone.

“China’s ”One Road One Belt” initiative is important for Nepal and Bangladesh and these countries could benefit from such initiative for building the physical infrastructure and roads,” she said.

She also reiterated China’s wishes in expanding people-to-people relations. ”From ancient times we are friendly to each other. We will keep it as people-to-people contact is the foundation of our bilateral relations” she said.

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