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Nepal gains access to China ports

Monday, March 21st, 2016
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Photo: MoFA, Nepal

China has agreed to allow Nepal to utilise Chinese ports, putting an end to the landlocked country’s dependency on India for international trade.

On the first day of Prime Minister KP Oli’s official visit to China, Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Thapa signed an agreement to this effect with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on Monday. The deal was signed following a meeting between PM Oli and Chinese premier Li Keqiang.

Nepal also signed nine additional agreements with China at various levels. But PM Oli tweeted that the transit agreement was especially important for Nepal’s economic development.

Nepal has relied so far just on the Kolkata port in India for international trade. Last year when India imposed a blockade against Nepal to force Kathmandu to address Madhesi demands, the landlocked nation began exploring other transit routes to plan for future embargos.

The transit deal with China might not immediately help Nepal in importing essential commodities from across the Himalaya, but Nepali authorities believe that it is an important step towards reducing over-dependency on India.

Nepal is surrounded by India on three sides, and New Delhi has tried to use this advantage to put pressure on Kathmandu on three occasions since 1971. Nepal shares its northern border with China, but the Chinese mainland remains far away.

In the wake of the Indian blockade, Nepal has tried to increase road connectivity with China, hoping to lessen the impact of future Indian embargos. In the five months of the recent blockade, Nepal suffered a humanitarian crisis as people were deprived of fuel and cooking gas.

Amidst the blockade, Nepal decided to import one third of its fuel needs from China, and PM Oli was expected to sign an agreement to this effect during his China visit. But the fuel deal was struck off his agenda just a few days before he flew to Beijing. Many believe that Oli the fuel duel on ice because of Indian pressure, but he has said it is because of the lack of time for preparation.

Nepal-China agreements

1)Agreement on Transit Transport between China and Nepal.

2)Agreement between China and Nepal on the Construction, Management and Maintenance of the Xiarwa Boundary River Bridge in Hilsa, Humla.

3)Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between China and Nepal to implement Pokhara Regional International Airport Project.

4) Framework Agreement on the provision of Mixed Loan between China and Nepal to implement Pokhara Regional International Airport Project.

5) Letters of Exchange on Project Initiation for the Feasibility Study on Chinese Assistance to Nepal for Exploration of Oil and Gas Resources.

6) Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Population and Environment of Nepal and National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China concerning the provision of goods for addressing climate change.

7) Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Industry of Nepal and State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the People’s Republic of China to strengthen intellectual property system.

8) Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Commerce of Nepal on Launching the Joint Feasibility Study of China-Nepal Free Trade Agreement.

9) Memorandum of Understanding between China Banking Regulatory Commission and Nepal Rastra Bank.

10) Concessional Loan Agreement on Pokhara Regional International Airport.

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5 Responses to “Nepal gains access to China ports”

  1. Bobby Chitrakar on Says:

    These agreements won’t do much, if anything, for Nepal. It is not healing what ails the country but simply treating the symptom. This is not a sustainable option.
    Nepal needs to import oil. Contrary to Nepal’s expectations, now that China is not trading oil with Nepal, it is back to square one for Nepal, i.e. be at the beck and call of it’s neighbors.
    The only light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel for Nepal is to be self-sufficient in energy. Only then can Nepal have any leverage in the geo-politics of South Asia.
    The writing is clear on the wall; develop energy, independent of foreign involvement or exist in a perpetual state of insecurity, causing tremendous suffering for the ordinary Nepalese and maybe even eventually perish as a sovereign nation.

  2. Bill Ross on Says:

    Is the road open from China for heavy traffic. From the rail line to Lhasa, a second duplicate rail line can be seen with its own bridges & tunnels. That was 2007. Where does this line go. I’ve heard suggestions it may go under the himalays to Nepal.

  3. Michael Cunningham on Says:

    India has scored an own goal with its heavy-handed treatment of Nepal, pushing it towards China. Even giants can have humility.

  4. Landlocked mindset on Says:

    […] right to transit gained sudden prominence when the KP Oli government inked agreements in Beijing for third country access via China in March 2016, and there may come a time when this route becomes […]

  5. Landlocked mindset – Kanak Mani Dixit on Says:

    […] right to transit gained sudden prominence when the KP Oli government inked agreements in Beijing for third country access via China in March 2016, and there may come a time when this route becomes […]

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