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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Security expert China´s Nepal envoy

June 6, 2011

by LEKHANATH PANDEY

KATHMANDU: China has appointed a high-profile security expert as its new ambassador to Nepal, giving a clear indication that it puts Nepal in its priority list of diplomacy.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China, named its incumbent ambassador for Korean Peninsula Affairs, Yang Houlan, as new envoy to its southern neighbour, Nepal, with whom Beijing has Tibet’s security issue to deal with.

China forwarded his “agreemo” to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal, for approval early this week, a highly placed source confirmed.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Upendra Yadav, however, has not been able to give attention to its approval process due to the unfolding political uncertainty within his own party – Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Nepal, and in the nation as a whole, according to the source.

Chief of Protocol Mukti Nath Bhatta confirmed the news of Yang’s appointment but refused to comment further.

As Chinese envoy to the Korean Peninsula Affairs, Yang had been involved for the past two years in dealings of the Six-Party-Talks, a group of six powerful nations comprising the United States, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and North Korea, formed to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear ambition. Earlier, he served as China’s ambassador to war-ravaged Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

The post was vacated since the premature departure of then Ambassador Qiu Guohong’s in early April, purportedly due to his “weak” diplomacy to contain the Free Tibet Movement in Nepal; and his protocol tussle and differences with Defence Attache Sr Colonel Cheng Xizhong on several issues, including establishing “direct link” with Nepali Army.

A senior official at MoFA said Yang’s selection as its new envoy suggests Beijing’s high-security interest in Nepal. Nepal’s former ambassador to China Rajeshwor Acharya had said some time ago: “Tibet is the most important and critical issue for China. Beijing is too anxious about growing anti-Chinese activities in Nepal.”

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