Sino-Nepali relations in a new era for common prosperity
Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language “Commentaries on International Affairs.”
President Xi Jinping’s just-concluded visit to Nepal is the first state visit to the Himalayan country by a Chinese president in over two decades. The two countries agreed to upgrade their relationship to a Strategic Partnership of Cooperation Featuring Ever-Lasting Friendship for Development and Prosperity, providing broader perspectives for cooperation.
Over 1,600 years ago, eminent monks from both countries worked together to interpret Buddhist Classics. During the Tang Dynasty 1,400 years ago, Nepali Princess Bhrikuti was married to Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, while the Chinese monk Huen Tsang visited Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha. And in the 13th century, Nepali architect Araniko led the building of the White Stupa at the Miaoying Temple in Beijing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping holds talks with Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli in Kathmandu, Nepal, Oct. 13, 2019. [Photo: Xinhua/Li Xueren]
The friendship and cooperation between China and Nepal has been carried forward and expanded to cover more areas. Last year, bilateral trade volume reached 1.1 billion U.S. dollars, and China’s investment in Nepal exceeded 300 million U.S. dollars. As an important partner in promoting Belt and Road cooperation in South Asia, Nepal’s decision to integrate its national development strategy with the Belt and Road Initiative will help the country achieve its “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepalis” vision. Nepal, a country rich in tourism resources, is the first South Asian country to be designated an approved destination for Chinese tourists. Last year, 150,000 Chinese people traveled in Nepal. As Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli said, China’s development and prosperity will bring important opportunities for Nepal. In the future, China's investment in infrastructure will help Nepal develop its economy and improve people's livelihoods. The upcoming second China International Import Expo in Shanghai is undoubtedly a new platform for the export of Nepal's products to China.
On the political side, Sino-Nepali mutual trust will become more consolidated as both sides pledged to support each other on issues of core interests. During their meeting, President Xi said China will continue to support Nepal in maintaining its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. He also stressed that "anyone attempting separatist activities in any part of China will be crushed,” and the Chinese people will quell any external force backing such attempts as well. Prime Minister Oli stated that his country will never allow any force to use its territory for separatist activities against China. These promises laid a solid political foundation for both sides to connect their development strategies in various fields such as economy, humanities and people's livelihoods, share development experience, and carry out pragmatic cooperation.
The World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara, Nepal. [File photo: IC]
The joint statement and the signing of a slew of agreements for cooperation in such fields as connectivity, trade and investment and border management demonstrate both sides’ determination in building a comprehensive cooperation pattern. Detailed plans include speeding up the enhancement of connectivity by upgrading a cross-border highway, launching a feasibility study for a cross-border railway, opening more border crossings and direct flights, strengthening communication cooperation, and accelerating the building of the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network. The two countries also pledged to reinforce collaboration in law enforcement, and jointly fight terrorism and transnational crimes to safeguard common security.
Next year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Nepali diplomatic relations. Standing at a new starting point, China and Nepal, as good friends sharing mutual respect and trust, as good partners for mutually beneficial cooperation, as good neighbors benefiting from people-to-people exchanges, and as good brothers who always stand alongside each other, are expected to promote the friendship across the Himalayas to a new height through enhanced political mutual trust, upgraded connectivity and the building of a community of shared future for both nations.