In October last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Nepal. It was a landmark visit which elevated Nepal-China comprehensive cooperative partnership to development- and prosperity-oriented strategic one. In his meeting with Nepal’s counterpart Bidya Devi Bhandari, President Xi underlined the principles of this new relationship, which included equal treatment, harmonious coexistence, friendship from generation to generation and comprehensive cooperation between the two nations.
Xi specifically pointed out that the two sides should consolidate the political foundation of Nepal-China relations and regard building a community with a shared future as the long-term goal of their relations. He thanked the Government of Nepal for the country’s firm adherence to the One-China policy and long-term support for China. China will continue to support Nepal in safeguarding her national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and provide support and assistance within its capacity for Nepal’s economic and social development. The two sides should build an all-round cooperation pattern, carry out the construction of a cross-Himalayan three-dimensional interconnection network, and expand exchanges and cooperation in various fields.
Over the last one year, the friendly exchanges between Nepal and China have continued. Many bilateral memoranda and agreements on cooperation are now being implemented. For example, China-funded projects have been under construction, and so are the hydropower and photovoltaic power plants. Chinese air conditioners, motorcycles, and many small home appliances have also entered the Nepali market.
The recent National Commendation Conference for Fighting the COVID-19 Epidemic in Beijing has attracted great attention from all walks of life in Nepal, and it has given us hope to overcome the contagion. China has always supported Nepal in the fight against the coronavirus. On September 5, the 13th Chinese medical team came to Kathmandu. The team of 17 medics will serve as foreign aid medical mission at the B.P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital, which was built with Chinese assistance, for one year. They will bring China's successful experience in fighting the epidemic to Nepal.
As per the understanding reached during Xi’s visit to Nepal, Confucius Institute (CI) has been established at Tribhuvan University (TU), with East China University of Technology and Qinghai Normal University as Chinese counterparts. The CI is expected to contribute to removing language barrier and promoting cultural exchanges and mutual understanding in the long-run. The people of China and Nepal believe that the two countries will have more opportunities for cooperation in the future. With the official resumption of commercial flights between the two nations, they will see smooth cross-border transportation. In a similar manner, Nepali people are eager to see the early commencement of a railway connecting the two countries.
It is a matter of satisfaction that the book "Xi Jinping on State Administration" has been translated into Nepali. The people from different quarters have appreciated the valuable ideas and vision spelt out in the book. Nepalis want to learn from Chinese experience in the eradication of their vast poverty and rise to the world's second largest economy. It is widely believed that President Xi's thoughts and wisdom in governing the country can be useful for the Himalayan nation. In June this year, the ruling communist parties from both nations held a virtual workshop and exchanged their views on running the party and government.
All of these indicate that Nepal-China comprehensive cooperative partnership has entered a new phase. There are a few points needing urgent attention from both sides. Hundreds of containers carrying Chinese goods have been stranded at Nepal-China border, causing huge losses to businessmen and scarcity of goods in the Nepali market. Such delays are equivalent to non-tariff trade barriers. Second point is the difficulties faced by Nepali exporters. Nepal has very few goods and services, which can be sold to the Chinese market. A long list of goods and services without significant volume cannot overcome trade imbalance between the two nations. Export-oriented or import-substitution industries are being set up in Nepal with Chinese investment. Such industries can be operated with local raw materials and workers.
Recently, Chinese nationals have invested in hotels and handicraft business, competing with the locals in Nepali traditional professions and trades. Traditional paintings can be an example. Nepali scholars are worried that such developments can displace the local people who have been practising their profession along familial lines for centuries. This may risk ruining the cultural and historical basis as well as market of such paintings.
The two sides believe that the bilateral ties will be further consolidated as they are implementing the projects under the strategic partnership. The two nations have become high-level good neighbours, good friends, and good partners poised to achieve "policy communication, facility connectivity, unimpeded trade, financing, and people-to-people bonds". The vision is to become a community of shared interests, a community of shared destiny, and a community of shared responsibility featuring mutual political trust, economic integration, and cultural tolerance, thereby enhancing the traditional friendly relations and the well-being of the two peoples.
Source: 2020/10/7 The Rising Nepal