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65 years of Nepal-China Relation: Extend Toward Strategic Co-operation

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Dhakal Bidhur

Today, August 1, the day of Nepal-China Relation; Nepal and China have a history of relations from the age of the history of Nepal and China and deep-rooted form the heart of the people from both countries. The significant of the bilateral relations between the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal and the Democratic Republic of China has evolved since the days of Nepali monk and scholar Buddhabhadra (early 5th Century), Princess Bhrikuti, and Araniko and early visits of Chinese monks and scholars like Monk Fa Xian (Jin Dynasty), Monk Xuan Zang (Tang Dynasty) and Manjushree among others.

1st   of August 1955, both countries have formalized their historical relation by establishing diplomatic relations. Since these 65 years, both countries have mutual understanding and relation concerning each other and treated each other as an equal and sovereign and equal partner. With Five Principle of Peaceful Co-existence Nepal and China have unyielding respect and faith in each other as this ideology is incorporated in both countries’ foreign policy.

The two countries share a range of 1,414 kilometers border in the Himalayan range of the northern side of Nepal. Nepal is only the country to have its consulate in Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. This shows that how Nepal and China shared their faith in each other.  There is a large presence of people of Nepali origin in Tibet living in harmony with the locals pursuing different professions. Nepal also maintains Consulate General in Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

Our shared cultural connections extend beyond these mighty Himalayas to embrace deep-rooted arts, architectures, and scripts having commonalities. The styles of the temples, old buildings, their window panes, and wooden beams to name a few   that speak a volume about the strong influence cultures on either side for centuries. One of the most striking shreds of evidence is the continuity of the Ranjana script (scripts of Kathmandu based Newar ethnic community) used to inscribe sacred chants in the prayer wheels around Buddhist temples in China indicates the influence of Kathmandu in Chinese Buddhism. The script has been spread not only in Tibet but also throughout the monasteries of the Chinese mainland and Mongolia.

High-Level Visit Extend Our relation in Strategic Co-operation

The year 2019 was the year of High-level visits between the two countries. After 23 years, Jiang Zemin in 1996; president Xi Jinping Visit in Nepal in 2019. As he recalls it in his congratulatory message to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on the occasion of 65 the anniversary of the diplomatic relation between two countries, he and Bhandari exchanged visits last year and elevated the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership for cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity.

President Xi also said Saturday that he attaches greater importance to the development of China-Nepal Relation and willing to work with Nepal to push for the continued advancement of the bilateral relation.  He also said that he is ready to work with the Nepali counterpart to bring greater benefits to the two peoples and make positive contributions to regional stability and development.

Last year President Xi had visited Nepal reducing the gap of the high level visit from China. Last year President Bhandari and in 2018 Prime minster was welcomed by China as a state guest. Those visits had made the relation of both countries as strategic co-operation.  Exchange of bilateral visits immensely put in to further nurturing Nepal-China bilateral relations and promoting the understanding between the two countries.

With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on 12 May 2017 in Kathmandu between Nepal and China, new avenues for bilateral cooperation in the mutually agreed areas are expected to open. The Government of the People’s Republic of China provided substantial and spontaneous support in search, relief, and rescue efforts of Nepal following the devastating earthquakes of 2015. China provided 3 billion Yuan on Nepal’s reconstruction to be used in the mutually selected 25 major projects for the period of 2016-2018. The two countries signed three separate bilateral Agreements on Economic and Technical Cooperation on 23 December 2016, 15 August 2017, and 21 June 2018 for providing a Chinese grant of one billion Yuan each to Nepal for implementing post-disaster reconstruction projects, livelihood projects, and other mutually agreed projects.

Likewise, China has to support Nepal in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Nepal is cooperating with China for it. Nepal has spread its hands of help by donating masks to China to fight against this pandemic in Wuhan.

On the visit of President Xi, both sides have recognized that Mount Sagarmatha/Zhumulangama as an external symbol of friendship between Nepal and China. In this state visit, Nepal and China have taken BRI as an important opportunity to deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation in all fields comprehensively, jointly pursue common prosperity and dedicate them to maintaining peace, stability, and development in the region. They have agreed that the bilateral relationship between Nepal and China has entered a new phase. It is always, Nepal has committed in One China Policy acknowledging that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory and Tibet affairs are China’s internal affairs and the determination on not allowing any anti-China activities on its soil. To intensify the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative to enhance connectivity, encompassing such vital components as ports, roads, railways, aviation, and communications within the overarching framework of trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network to significantly contribute to Nepal’s development agenda that includes graduating from LDC at an early date, becoming middle-income country by 2030 and realizing the SDGs by the same date.

Nepal and China are exchanging and cooperation in education, culture, tourism, traditional medicine, media, think tanks, and youth at different levels. On that visit, China consented to the establishment of Nepal’s Consulate General in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China. Nepal is the founding member of the AIIB and holds the status of Dialogue Partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Both countries are also members of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue.

Nepal China relations are described as a model of good neighborliness between a small and a large country with different political systems. Nepal has always been upholding the One China policy. The Government of Nepal (GoN) is firm in its principled stand not to allow Nepalese territory to be used against China. China, on the other hand, has always treated Nepal as an equal and friendly partner respecting its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national independence.

(Dhakal is Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication from Tribhuvan University and currently studying Master’s in Public Administration in University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) Chengdu. Diplomatic Correspondent at pahilopost Kathamandu.

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