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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."

China begins new innings in Nepal

June 23, 2011

TNN | Jun 18, 2011, 04.52pm IST

KATHMANDU: China's new ambassador to Nepal, Yang Houlan, arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday, triggering speculation by the local media that Beijing was beginning a new innings in the Himalayan republic, elevating it as a priority country in the scheme of Chinese foreign affairs.

Yang, who was special envoy for Korean Peninsula Affairs, and is a regional security expert, is the most senior Chinese diplomat to be sent to Nepal. Three of his predecessors, Sun Heping, Zheng Xianglin and Qiu Guohong had seen an escalation in anti-China protests in Nepal by Tibetan protesters and had not been able to stop them despite urging the government of Nepal to take stern action against the protesters.

Besides the Tibetans, China has also been contending with US attempts to offer Tibetan refugees in Nepal a new home in American cities. Thoiugh the US government offered to take in about 5,000 of the most vulnerable Tibetan refugees, Nepal put the request on hold after China said it would be tantamount to interfering in China's internal affairs. This month, the Obama administration sent Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Kelly Clements to Nepal to urge the Jhala Nath Khanal government to issue IDs to Tibetan refugees in Nepal as well as respect their basis rights and allow them safe passage to India.

With India also having named Special Secretary (Public Diplomacy) in the External Affairs Ministry, Jayant Prasad, as the new ambassador to Nepal, the Nepali media has begun speculating that in the days to come, with both its giant neighbours according priority to Nepal, the tiny republic could become a helpless yam squeezed between two boulders.

Yang will present his credentials to Nepal's President, Dr Ram Baran Yadav, Monday.

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