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<-Back to WTN Archives NEPAL-CHINA RELATIONS
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Sunday, August 7, 2005



4. NEPAL-CHINA RELATIONS


For the first five decades of diplomatic relations, the two neighbors did
not face major irritants in their bilateral ties

By KESHAB POUDEL
PeaceJournalism.com

7 Aug 2005

For the first five decades of establishment of diplomatic relations between
Nepal and China , both the countries have seen many changes in terms of
economy and social progress. Thanks to the opening of its economy, China
continues to achieve high economic growth rate.

Despite many ups and downs in international and regional scenario, Nepal 's
relations with China remain similar. Following the establishment of
Nepal-China relations five decades ago, both the countries have made all out
efforts to respect the sensitivity of each other. This understanding helped
flourish the relations between the two.

Although Nepal is a small landlocked country, its geo-strategic location is
very important for China - which shares more than 1400 kilometers long
mountainous border with Nepal . At a time when China is spending huge amount
of money to develop Tibetan Autonomous region, Nepal has lots of
opportunities to benefit.

Established under the leadership of King Mahendra and former prime minister
B.P. Koirala, King Birendra added new dimension to Nepal-China relations.
During his reign, late King Birendra had made significant contribution to
smoothen the relations between the two countries.

After the restoration of democracy in 1990, China maintained its relations
with all major legitimate political parties of Nepal . From Congress leader
Girija Prasad Koirala to former prime minister Sher Bahdur Deuba, and from
Surya Bahadur Thapa to CPN-UML leaders including Madhav Kumar Nepal and
president of Nepal Sadvabana Party late Gajendra Narayan Singh, all of them
were invited to China at different times.

Unfortunately, Nepal is yet to take any concrete step to tap the goodwill.
As there is only one road - Kodari Highway linking Nepal with Tibet , it is
gradually becoming inadequate to meet the growing trade needs between the
two countries. For the last two decades, the government of Nepal has not
shown any interest to repair it.

The agreement signed to build another road through Syaphrubeshi of Dhunche
is yet to be implemented. Chinese side has already completed the initial
works. Planning Survey and Design Institute of Tibetan Autonomous Region has
already completed its work but the work of Nepalese side is in progress. In
the course of five years since the agreement was signed between then prime
minister of Nepal Girija Prasad Koirala and then Chinese prime minister Zhu
Rongji, Nepal has seen four governments headed by Sher Bahadur Deuba,
Lokendra Bahadur Chand, Surya Bahadur Thapa and Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Although the road is said to be easier and shorter to connect the Tibetan
Autonomous Region of China, it seems that it has to go a long way to begin
construction works. Unlike the China of five decades ago, today's China has
improved its clout throughout the world and Nepal can gain from the strength
of Nepal 's northern neighbor. " China is developing itself as an
increasingly active player. Its economic as well as political clout is on
the rise; as it is already a member of the WTO; it has growing linkage with
G-8; and it is gradually developing itself as a donor," writes Hira Bahadur
Thapa in his article on Economic Dimension of Nepal-China Relations.

Nepal 's trade with China increased by many folds in recent years. Although
the road is frequently closed down for days and weeks by insurgents, it did
not make any impact on the volume of trade between the two countries. In his
recent statement to a reception held to commemorate five decades of
establishment of Nepal-China relations, second vice chairman of the cabinet
Kirti Nidhi Bista stressed the need to expand the trade and economic
relations between the two countries.

However, a budget presented by the finance minister Madhukar Shumsher Rana
imposed additional taxes on the import of Chinese good. In response to
additional taxes, Nepalese traders declined to import the goods through
Kodari custom. The trade between two countries is virtually in standstill
for many days.
Following the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between Nepal and
China back in 1955, Nepal has seen many political upheavals. There were
three Kings and three different political systems. Whatever the political
changes occurred in Nepal and whoever came to the power, Nepal 's relations
with China remained cordial.

B.P. Koirala - who signed Nepal China border agreement - was first
democratically elected prime minister to visit China . After Koirala's visit
to China , Nepal showed its commitment to handle its foreign policy as a
sovereign and independent nation.

B.P. Koirala and Zhou En-lai signed an agreement on April 28,1960 expressing
commitment to pursue a policy of good neighborliness respecting each other's
independence and sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Signing the border agreement with China in 1963, King Mahendra gave high
priority to strengthen the traditional relations between the two countries.
Although the episode of Khampas who set camps and tried to destabilize
Tibetan Autonomous region back in 1970s emerged as a problem briefly, the
basic tenets of Nepal-China security issues, which are to maintain a
peaceful and stable border, not to allow activities in the territory of one
country against other, remained intact.

Although it shares more than 1400 kilometers in its northern mountainous
region as border with Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, Nepal does not
have any border dispute with China . In the process of Nepal 's
modernization, China helped Nepal in building infrastructures like highways,
power plant and industries.
On August 1, 2005, King Gyanendra, in a message to Chinese President Hu
Jintao on the occasion of the 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic
relations between Nepal and China, said, "It is a matter of great
satisfaction that our relations are marked by mutual respect and
understanding in an atmosphere of mutual trust and friendship." Likewise,
Chinese President Hu Jintao, in his congratulatory message to the King,
said, "For 50 years since the diplomatic ties were established, China-Nepal
relations have stood the test of changes of international vicissitudes, and
made steady headways."

The president has stated China wants to "consistently consolidate and
strengthen China-Nepal good neighborly and cooperative relations on the
basis of five principles of peaceful co-existence. It is not only in line
with fundamental interests of the two countries, but also conducive to
peace, stability and development in South Asia ."

The tone in the language used by the two leaders appear very much positive
and promising so far as the future cooperation between the two countries is
concerned.

As China is spending huge money in the development of Tibetan Autonomous
Region linking railway to Lhasa and other Chinese cities, Nepal can enjoy
lots of economic benefits in future. That is what should guide the bilateral
relations of the two countries for the next five decades.


Articles in this Issue:
  1. Feeling the long arm of China The consul-general is making sure politicians know where her country stands
  2. Tibetans celebrate Shoton Festival
  3. China and India bury hatchet
  4. NEPAL-CHINA RELATIONS
  5. A reader fails to find jewels in the heart of the lotus
  6. Dragons in the Tibet Sky
  7. Conflicted Arab-American prays for peace



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