China and Nepal should firmly support each other’s core interests and major concerns, a senior Chinese official said on Wednesday as the two countries held their annual diplomatic consultations.
The 13th round of diplomatic consultations between China’s Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi via video conferencing came amidst Beijing’s deepening political and diplomatic influence in the Himalayan nation, including shoring-up support for pro-China Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli in the backdrop of intra-party feud in the ruling communist party.
Luo said that the two sides should focus on implementing the outcomes of last year’s Nepal visit of President Xi Jinping, strengthening cooperation in fighting COVID-19 and jointly building the “One Belt One Road” initiative.
A pet project of Xi, the initiative focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among Asian countries, Africa, China and Europe.
The two sides should firmly support each other’s core interests and major concerns, strengthen coordination in international and regional affairs, and promote greater development of bilateral relations in such areas as connectivity, development assistance, defence, law enforcement and security, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
China’s investments under its multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) include the building of the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network through Tibet.
China’s high-profile projects include the construction of tunnels along the road from Jilong in Tibet to Kathmandu, establishment of a science and technology university in Nepal, development of the three North-South corridors in Nepal and the Nepal-China electric power cooperation.
According to a recent article by Nepal’s ambassador to China Mahendra Bahadur Pandey in Chinese official media, plans are afoot on some of the landmark projects in the areas of infrastructure, industry and education that were agreed to be initiated in Nepal during Xi’s visit.
Last month for the first-time, China held its first foreign ministers level meeting with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal during which they discussed cooperation to contain COVID-19, economic recovery and resumption of the BRI projects.
Bairagi said Nepal will continue to firmly adhere to the ?One-China’ policy and support China’s positions on issues concerning Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong, the statement added.