Chinese Defense Minister with CoAS Purna Chandra Thapa. Photo courtesy: Nepal Army headquarters
KATHMANDU, Nov 30: Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe, who paid a one-day working visit to Nepal on Sunday, also discussed international and regional situations apart from the bilateral diplomatic and military relations between China and Nepal during his visit, according to the Chinese Defense Ministry.
Chinese Defense Ministry in a statement on Sunday said that Wei discussed international and regional situations apart from the bilateral diplomatic and military relations during his meeting with Chief of the Army Staff General Purna Chandra Thapa on Sunday afternoon. However, the ministry has not exactly shared what transpired between the two sides during the meeting on international and regional situations.
Nepal Army headquarters has not shared that international and regional issues were also part of the discussion between the two sides. In a statement issued after the meeting between General Fenghe and CoAS Thapa, the NA said ‘cordial discussion on various issues of bilateral interests’ were discussed.
Experts on regional security affairs believe that the Chinese Defense Minister could have discussed with Thapa regarding the recent border tension between China and India and ongoing process of disengagement of their respective troops from the Galwan Valley located in the Ladakh union territory of India. The Chinese top official is said to have shared China's stance on matters pertaining to the South China Sea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibetan affairs.
Before wrapping up his Nepal visit, the Chinese Defense Minister called on President Bidya Devi Bhandari at the latter's office. According to the Chinese Defense Ministry, President Bhandari congratulated China on achieving victory in the fight against COVID-19 under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and said that Nepal is deeply grateful to China for its firm support for Nepal's economic development and social stability.
President Bhanadri, the Chinese Defense Ministry statement said, expressed that the Nepal-China friendship goes back to ancient times, and Nepal actively participates in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and is willing to deepen military to military friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
While sharing the content of the discussion between Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Fenghe, the Chinese Defense Ministry quoted Oli as saying that both sides have conducted extensive and deep friendly cooperation since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries 65 years ago.
Oli reportedly told the Chinese Defense Minister that he believed that under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China will surely make greater development and the visit paid by the Chinese Defense Minister will help to push forward the cooperation between the two militaries.
"Wei Fenghe said the heads of the state of China and Nepal paid successful visits to each other’s countries last year and upgraded the China-Nepal relations to a strategic partnership of cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity," the Chinese Defense Ministry quoted as Fenghe saying.
The Chinese side will continue to keep close communications with the Nepalese side and provide support and assistance as always for the military development of Nepal and make more contributions for the benefits of both peoples and regional peace and stability, the statement quoted Minister Wei as saying.
Amid China's alleged border encroachment upon Nepali territories in Humla district, the Defense Minister told Prime Minister Oli that China highly appreciates Nepal for its resolute pursuit of the one-China policy, and also firmly supports Nepal to safeguard its national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
A few weeks ago, The Global Times, a state-run Chinese newspaper, accused the Indian and western media of disseminating fake news on China's border encroachment upon Nepali territories.
It also blamed Nepal's opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) for working to provoke Nepali people against China after an NC leader Jeevan Bahadur shahi came up with a report of Chinese border encroachment in Humla district. However, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu and Foreign Ministry of Nepal have already made it clear that China and Nepal have no territorial disputes as claimed by a section of politicians and a section of Indian and western media.