You presented your credentials to the prime minister instead of the king, does that mean that China accepts a republic in Nepal?
Zheng Xialing: (Laughs) We cannot say, it just happened. When I was appointed ambassador to Nepal, we received notice from the Nepal government that the constitution had been changed. According to the interim constitution, the prime minister is the head of state, and ambassadors are supposed to present their credentials to him.
The US still sees the Maoists as terrorists, do you?
The CPN-M are now part of the eight-party alliance. This alliance has been accepted by the people of Nepal. I think the US will also accept this coalition government. As far as the label of 'terrorist' goes, I think that different people assess things differently. American ambassador James Moriarty has told me he, too, would like to shake hands with Prachanda.
Are Free Tibet campaigners here a security concern for China?
The Nepali government has committed to us to not allow separatist forces from Tibet to use Nepali soil against China. We are a little worried about the activities of separatist forces in Nepal. We will work closely with the Nepal government on this issue and hope that Nepal will keep to its commitments. China cannot compromise on the Tibet issue as it is connected to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our nation.
In 1962, then Deputy Prime Minister Marshall Chen Yi said 'China will not tolerate foreign interference in Nepal.' Has China's policy changed?
No, no. There is no change in policy. The longstanding friendship between Nepal and China has lasted for a long, long time, and I am sure it will continue for generations to come.
Does that mean the Chinese government will treat the problems of Nepali citizens just like it does those of the Chinese?
It means exactly that. Whenever the Nepali people face any problem or difficulty, China shall treat them as our own, especially when the problems pertain to sovereignty or territorial integrity. China will not tolerate any foreign intervention in Nepal.