KATHMANDU, Jan 1: China has hinted of bringing additional Nepal-China border points in operation for the purpose of bilateral trade.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Pokhara Regional International Airport on Sunday, the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of China in Nepal Wang Sheng said the Chinese government will open the Yari-Purang border from 2023.
The Chinese diplomat’s commitment has come just a day after the northern neighbor eased cross-border movement of goods via Rasuwagadhi-Kerung land route, which remained almost shut since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020. The Chinese authority is yet clueless on the Tatopani-Khasa customs, another important bilateral trade route.
Nepal shares its border with the Tibet autonomous region of China in a stretch of 1,414 kilometers along the Himalayan range. China has officially opened six border points for bilateral trade via land routes. These include Kodari-Nyalam (Tatopani-Khasa), Rasuwa-Kerung, Yari (Humla)-Purang, Olangchunggola-Riwu, Kimathanka- Riwu and Nechung (Mustang)-Lizi.
However, till date, only two trade routes via Rasuwagadhi and Tatopani have been opened for commercial trading. Still, the Chinese authorities shut these points indefinitely since the pandemic began.
The Chinese Charge d’Affaires said the two-way trade via Rasuwagadhi-Kerung has resumed smoothly. According to him, China will also be facilitating Nepal to develop cross-border road connectivity.
To facilitate bilateral trade, China has promised Nepal to construct dry ports in all the six land-based trading points. As of now, a dry port has been built only in Larcha of Sindhupalchowk district, which was handed over to the Nepali authorities on June 28, 2019. However, the inland container depot has been running in under capacity due to disruption of trading via the route.
With a view to ensuring the further flow of goods and people between Nepal and Tibet, Nepal and China plan to develop cross-border roads through Simikot-Hilsa (85 km), Jomsom-Korala (80 km) and Khandbari-Kimanthanka (80 km) in the Nepal-Tibet border region. The two countries have started work to open the second Nepal-China land route of the Syaphrubesi-Rasuwagadhi road.