Wednesday, April 18, 2018

China proposes trilateral economic corridor including India

China has proposed both India and Nepal to form a trilateral economic corridor.
Calling on India to get involved in its connectivity projects with Nepal to support the landlocked country's development in a bid to downplay concerns over rivalry between the two Asian giants.
Addressing a joint press meet in Beijing – after meeting visiting Nepali Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi today said that the trilateral economic corridor will help expand trans Himalayan connectivity.
Yi, who is also state councillor, on the occasion, said that the trans Himalayan connectivity will help create trilateral economic corridor.
Nepal largely depends on India for trade, which some of the Indian experts also explain as India’s sphere of influence apart from its security concerns. According to Indian experts, Nepal has increasingly been leaning towards northern neighbour especially since election last year that saw left alliance – popularly claimed as pro-Chinese – win the majority.
Since last few years, foreign direct investment (FDI) from China has also been exceeding compared to from India fuelling the Indian suspicion more.
Reminding the signing of Belt and Road Initiavities (BRI) last year between Nepal and China, Yi also called on both the countries to speed up their connectivity projects – from rail and road to aviation, communications and electricity – to create conditions that would be favourable for eventually building an economic corridor between China, Nepal and India.
BRI comprises of air, road, rail and communication connectivity apartfrom energy cooperation between Nepal and China, he said, informing that the railways is being under construction that will reach Nepal border. "Whether it’s China or India, our two countries shall be happy to see Nepal’s new development after its political transition."
Responding to the Chinese railway linking China-Nepal border Kerung and Kathmandu and Pokhara, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – last week during Prime Minister K P Oli's India visit – vows to connect Kathmandu to Raxual through Indian rail network to pursue ‘common destiny’.
On the occasion, Gyawali said that Beijing and Kathmandu had agreed to start work on a feasibility study to build a railway from the Tibetan border town of Kerung to Kathmandu, and from Kathmandu to Pokhara and Lumbini.
“We share common views on a trans Himalayas, multi-dimensional transport network in the long term,” he said, adding that Beijing and Kathmandu also agreed to deepen political trust. "I reiterated Nepal’s commitment to the one-China policy. We have the policy of non-interference in the internal relations of any other countries."
Gyawali earlier met vice president Wang Qishan at the Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound in Beijing. According to a press release issued by Nepali Embassy in Beijing, Gyawali conveyed the greetings and best wishes of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and said that Nepal appreciates President Xi Jinping’s vision of ‘building a community of shared future for humanity,’ and supports China’s thrust on enhancing cooperation among nations under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Gyawali’s visit comes a little over a week after Oli travelled to New Delhi. He is on his first visit to Beijing after the government led by Oli came to power in February. Oli was supposed to visit China immediately after India but he rushed to India escaping The Boao Forum that has seen high profile participation from Nepal ever year. Thus, Gyawali’s visit is a precursor to Oli’s first visit to China after taking over the premiership. During his earlier tenure as premier in 2016, Oli had signed multiple deals with China to use Chinese roads and ports, aimed reducing landlocked Nepal’s dependence on India for trade and transit.
Beijing and Kathmandu also agreed to expedite the implementation of all agreements and understandings reached in the past, including those concluded during the visit of then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in March 2016 and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal in March 2017.
According to the press note from Foreign Ministry, the two sides today agreed to establish a coordination and implementation mechanism for facilitating the effective implementation of the Chinese government-aided projects. They held discussions on achieving an enhanced level of bilateral co-operation in the development of infrastructure, transportation networks, trade, tourism and people-to-people relations under the BRInitiative, and agreed to identify projects for cooperation under the Initiative.
Discussion was also held on conducting the feasibility study and preparation of DPR of Nepal-China Cross Border Railway line from Kerung to Kathmandu, and Pokhara and Lumbini.