China, Nepal pledge to support each other’s ‘core interests and major concerns’

China’s Vice-Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui. File

China’s Vice-Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui. File   | Photo Credit: R. Ravindran

China and Nepal on August 12 said they would “support each other’s core interests and major concerns” and strengthen coordination on regional affairs, as they held foreign office consultations amid a recent spurt in diplomatic engagement between the neighbours.

Both sides also agreed to take forward projects under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which includes plans for a cross-border railway line, as they reviewed their agreements at Wednesday’s talks, held between China’s Vice-Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and Nepal Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi through video conference.

A statement from China’s Foreign Ministry quoted Mr. Luo as saying at the thirteenth round of diplomatic consultations that both sides would “support each other’s core interests and major concerns” and “strengthen coordination in international and regional affairs”.

Mr. Bairagi was quoted as saying Nepal “will continue to firmly adhere to the One-China policy and support China’s position on issues concerning Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong”.

The talks followed greetings exchanged by the leaders of both countries earlier this month to mark the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations. China and Nepal have always treated each other as “equals”, President Xi Jinping said as he exchanged messages with President Bidya Devi Bhandari.

Last month, the Foreign Ministers of the two countries also met as part of a new quadrilateral dialogue with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Nepal’s Ambassador to India Nilamber Acharya told The Hindu earlier that the meeting should not be a matter of concern for India-Nepal ties.

“We are all concerned about the pandemic, as immediate neighbours, and we should not interpret anything beyond that [in the quadrilateral meeting]. India is also cooperating with China despite the difficulties between them,” Mr. Acharya said.

India’s ties with Nepal have recently been strained, particularly in the wake of Nepal’s decision to include disputed areas like Kalapani into a new map. Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has pushed for establishing closer relations with China and has championed the Tibet-Nepal cross-border rail link project.

China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi outlined four proposals at the quadrilateral meeting, including for the four countries to cooperate under the BRI. He proposed extending the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan, as well as taking forward the economic corridor plan with Nepal, called the Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 1:53:19 AM |

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