Kathmandu 1 August : Chines Ambassador to Nepal Ms. Hou Yanqi has said that ‘China will never interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. During my meetings with Nepali leaders and friends, I always express my best wishes that Nepali can maintain political stability and achieve economic development’ . She gives good wishes that ‘The 65th anniversary of China-Nepal diplomatic relations has made this year an important opportunity for joint commemoration and new progress’. With exclusive interview of ABC News television Ambassdor You stated that ‘I also would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all friends that have made contributions to our bilateral friendship. Standing at new starting point in the new era, we should carry the traditional friendship forward and take the bilateral relationship to a new height.’ in 1955 August 1 has singed diplomatic relation between two countries, after that Nepal and China are enjoying very harmonious relation, support and exchange program. in this year marked 65th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.
ABC : Your Excellency, this year marks the 65th year of formal diplomatic relations. During these years both the countries have achieved some exemplary results, such as “Sino-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship”, Boundary Settlement Agreement and many more. Your Excellency. Your Excellency! As being a diplomat, how do you assess Nepal-China friendship since the establishment of diplomatic relation between the two countries in 1955?
Ambassador : China and Nepal are close neighbors linked by the same mountains and rivers and enjoy a long-standing friendship. Over the last 65 years, China-Nepal friendship has withstood the test of time, and all-round bilateral cooperation has yielded fruitful results. I have summarized four prominent features of our friendship:
The personal guidance and efforts of our leaders. Our friendly and cooperative relations have been carefully nurtured by successive generations of leaders from both sides. During his state visit to Nepal last year, President Xi Jinping and President Biddhya Devi Bhandari agreed to elevated our bilateral relations to strategic partnership of cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity. Our bilateral relations have ushered in a new era. Hou emphasis that ‘Our relationship has set a fine example of harmonious coexistence between the countries with different systems and sizes’.
Uphold the Five Principle of Peaceful Coexistence. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, we have always respected, trusted and supported each other. Nepal stands firm in upholding the one-China policy, and China firmly supports Nepal in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. Our relationship has set a fine example of harmonious coexistence between the countries with different systems and sizes.
Strengthen the bond of practical cooperation. China has implemented a lot of construction assistance projects in Nepal, including hospitals, schools and roads. Nepal is China’s important trade and development partner in South Asia, our bilateral trade volume has reached 1.5 billion U.S. dollars last year. We have also seen more and more Chinese companies investing in construction, hydropower, tourism and other industries of Nepal. The width and depth of our cooperation have reached an unprecedented level.
Deep-rooted in the hearts of the peoples of two countries. We are not only neighbors, but also friends, partners, brothers and sisters. We always share weal and woe together. When Wenchuan and Nepal was respectively hit by earthquake in 2008 and 2015, we supported each other’s rescue and relief efforts. Confronted with the COVID-19 outbreak, we once again join hands together to combat the virus. We use concrete actions to demonstrate our firm commitment to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
ABC: Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI) is China’s flagship program to support the developing countries around the world. And, Nepal has already signed BRI. Your Excellency! Could you please introduce specific progress made in the sectors in co-operation under BRI. What can we do to speed-up BRI initiatives in Nepal?
Ambassador : In 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the BRI. It follows the “golden rule” of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. Over the past seven years, we have signed cooperation documents with 138 countries and 30 international organization. More than 2,000 projects have been launched and tens of thousands of jobs created in the partner countries.
Nepal is China’s important partner of the joint building of the BRI in South Asia, and we signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation under the BRI in 2017. During President Xi’s visit last year, we have agreed to align the joint building of the BRI with Nepal’s national development strategy of transforming itself into a land-linked country. This will inject new impetus to our mutually-beneficial cooperation in all fields.
In recent years, significant progress has been made in connectivity projects including communications, highways, railways, ports and aviation. The China-Nepal cross-border optical fiber has come into commercial operation, the upgrading and reconstruction of cross-border highway is steadily pushing forward, the feasibility study of the construction of the cross-border railway has started. We have opened 3 pairs of land ports, and there are around 60 direct flights between our two countries every week, the number is still increasing. A Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network is gradually taking shape.
I want to emphasize that the physical connectivity of infrastructure is an important part of BRI, but connectivity in policies, trade, finance and strengthen people-to-people exchanges are also vital to advancing BRI. We should follow the consensus of our leaders to steer up the BRI toward greater success in a comprehensive manner.
ABC: Nepal and China signed a historic agreement on Transit and Transport during the first premiership of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. Chinese President Xi Jinping, while in state visit of Nepal, had said Nepal has been the land-linked country referring to this historic Transit and Transport Agreement. What else can China do to make Nepal land-linked from traditional land-locked status?
Ambassador : China and Nepal signed the Transit and Transportation Agreement in March 2016 and the Protocol on Implementing the Agreement on Transit and Transport in April 2019. China agrees to provide Nepal with access to three sea ports and four land ports for third-country trade. This is an important step to deepen cooperation between us, and will help Nepal to play a more important role in the regional economic development.
The relevant departments of two countries are stay in close coordination to implement the agreements. If Nepali side has specific needs, the Chinese side will provide necessary facilitation according to the commercial principles. I believe that after we solve the technical problems through practice and gain enough experience, the cooperation model will become mature. Nepal may import more goods from the third countries through China.
ABC: After defeating the pandemic, China has resumed it’s economy into the same track as before. Now Nepal is also trying to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. At this post-pandemic circumstance, Your Excellency! what type of economic cooperation can China provide to Nepal? Can both the countries resume air transport and promote tourism within some months?
Ambassador: We are glad to see that with common efforts of its government and people, Nepal has witnessed an overall downward trend of newly infected cases, and the lockdown measures have been gradually lifted. COVID-19 has affected our cooperation to some extent, but the impact is temporary and limited. Faced with ongoing risks from COVID-19, we need to maintain the right balance between proper COVID-19 containment and sound socio-economic development.
With continued epidemic prevention and control as a precondition, we can get key infrastructure projects restarted as early as possible, these efforts will help us preserve jobs and protect people’s well-being. But now some of the projects face shortage of raw materials, and many Chinese technicians have still been stranded in China. To keep the supply chains stable, “green corridors” should be opened for flows of goods, and we also need to explore to establish a fast lane to bring back project personnel. We are now working on it. We can also accelerate collaboration in e-commerce, bio-medicine and cloud economy to make them new engines of growth.
The situation is still serious. To block cross-border transmission of the virus, many countries including China have set strict limits on the movement of people. For example, the passengers should conduct PCR tests before boarding, and have to be quarantined for at least 14 days when they get off the plane. To protect oneself and the other people, it’s advised that we should avoid any unnecessary cross-border movements. I believed that after we finally win the battle against the COVID- 19, more tourists will come to Nepal to enjoy its culture, history and natural scenery.
ABC: Your Excellency, Nepal, after a long political instability, has entered the stable phase with new Constitution, general elections and a stable government with nearly two-third majority. In this changed political context what is your experience to deal the diplomatic and issues of bilateral co-operation with Nepal?
Ambassador: We congratulated Nepal on the historic and epoch-making political transformation. After long years of instability, Nepal now has received new opportunities for development, and vigorously pursuing the vision of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali”.
Based on China’s own experience, stability is the precondition for development. China will never interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. During my meetings with Nepali leaders and friends, I always express my best wishes that Nepali can maintain political stability and achieve economic development. I think, it is also the aspiration of the common Nepali people. We hope Nepal can seize the historical opportunities to achieve greater progress.
ABC: Your Excellency! China is our best friend forever. On the occasion of 65th year of diplomatic relation, what message would you like to deliver to the Nepalese people?
Ambassador : The 65th anniversary of China-Nepal diplomatic relations has made this year an important opportunity for joint commemoration and new progress. I also would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all friends that have made contributions to our bilateral friendship. Standing at new starting point in the new era, we should carry the traditional friendship forward and take the bilateral relationship to a new height. The Chinese Embassy and myself will continuously devote to enhance cooperation with people from all walks of life of Nepal, and bring greater benefits to the peoples of two countries.
(An exclusive interview with Her Excellency Ambassador of the Peoples’ Republic of China to Nepal, Hou Yanqi on the occasion of the 65thanniversary of Nepal China diplomatic relations to ABC News Television and english. nepalpage.com)