China and Nepal are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers. People from both the countries have shared connectivity, mutual benefit and exchanges along the border areas since ancient times. The magnificent and holy Mount Zhumulangma has witnessed the long history of exchanges between the two countries, and the vast Himalayas have become the bond of China-Nepal friendship. In 1955, China and Nepal established diplomatic relations, which started a new chapter in the development of bilateral relations and injected new impetus into border cooperation between the two countries.
The China-Nepal boundary bears testimony to peace and friendship between the two countries. Under care of the former leaders of the two countries, China and Nepal achieved an overall settlement of the boundary question through friendly consultations in accordance with the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and the spirit of fairness, reasonableness, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation. The two sides signed the Boundary Treaty in October 1961. In 1963, the China-Nepal Joint Boundary Commission demarcated the over 1000 kilometers boundary and set up boundary markers along the boundary line. The China-Nepal border has maintained peace and stability for over 60 years. Settlement of the boundary question between the two countries was not only a milestone in the development of friendly relations between China and Nepal, it also set an example to settle boundary questions with neighboring countries through friendly consultations, and thus made an important contribution to peace in Asia and the world.
The two sides have also established mechanisms to keep close communication and coordination on border affairs. In accordance with the provisions of the Boundary Treaty and Protocols, the professional authorities from both the sides have been fully capable of determining the specific alignment of the boundary on the field, putting China-Nepal boundary under scientific and professional recognition and management, which leaves no room for any so-called encroachment on each other's territories. In 2019, during President Xi Jinping's state visit to Nepal, the two sides signed the Agreement on the Boundary Management System and have effectively improved the level of boundary management and cooperation between the two countries.
China-Nepal border has become a bond for win-win cooperation. The two countries have opened six pairs of border ports, including the Kerung-Rasuwa and Zhangmu-Kodari. Trans-border cooperation has become an important part of bilateral relations. The two sides also reached a series of agreements on trade and payment, trans-frontier pasturing of livestock by the border inhabitants, and trade and other matters, to further promote border trade and facilitate the lives of border inhabitants. In 2019, the total imports and exports value between Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region of China (XAR) and Nepal reached 3.165 billion yuan (about 465 million US dollars), a growth of 26.7% on a year-on-year basis. Nepal has been the largest foreign trade partner of XAR for six years in a row.
In order to better the lives of the people in the northern part of Nepal, the Chinese side has provided the Nepali side with the facility to utilize highways in XAR for Cargo Transport since May 2006. A total of 67 batches of consignments have been completed under this cooperation, with a total of 15,876.9 tons of goods, including food, diesel, engineering machinery construction materials. It has become a tale of sincere mutual assistance and win-win cooperation between border inhabitants of the two countries.
During President Bhandari’s state visit to China in 2019, China and Nepal signed the Protocol on Implementing Agreement on Transit Transport that allows the Nepali side to use 4 sea ports and 3 land ports in China for third-country trade, which helps promote the vision of Nepal to transform from a “land-locked” country to a “land-linked” country, and bring new opportunities in China-Nepal trans-border cooperation.
China-Nepal border is a bridge for mutual assistance. The earthquakes of April 2015 caused serious damage to the border ports and roads between the two countries. Despite the risk of frequent secondary disasters along the route after the earthquakes, the Chinese side transported the most needed oil and gas to Nepal and actively carried out urgent repair and maintenance work at the border ports and the roads. In May 2019, the Zhangmu-Kodari Port restored its freight function.
I had the pleasure of leading a working team to inspect the reconstruction of the border port by driving along the Arniko Highway. I was deeply impressed by the construction of the border port under such sophisticated geographical conditions, and was touched by the unbreakable China-Nepal friendship, sharing weal and woe.
This year, since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Chinese side has been working hard to overcome the impact of COVID-19 and natural geological hazards in establishing a joint prevention and control mechanism in order to actively explore the ways to improve the capacity of the transportation of goods. Despite the ongoing pandemic, we have maintained the freight function at the border ports to our best and arranged for the transportation of many batches of medical supplies aided by China and daily necessities purchased by Nepal as a priority. Although the pandemic has affected the efficiency of cooperation in transporting goods between the two countries, the delivery of medical supplies for prevention and control of the pandemic and daily necessities to the Nepali side has never stopped, and this bridge of friendship has never been interrupted.
The prospects of China-Nepal border cooperation in the new era is very promising. The year 2019 is a milestone in the history of the development of China-Nepal relations. President Xi Jinping and President Bhandari successfully exchanged state visits and elevated the bilateral relations to the Strategic Partnership of Cooperation, featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity. The year 2020 marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Nepal, and is also the first year to implement the outcomes of exchanges of the high-level visits. Under the guidance of the blueprint depicted by the leaders of the two countries, the two sides are working together to build the trans-Himalayan multidimensional connectivity network. We will continue to improve the functions and infrastructure construction along the border ports, and spare no efforts in maintaining the highways connecting China and Nepal, and actively promote feasibility study on the Kerung-Kathmandu cross-border railway project. China and Nepal will also jointly announce the height of Mount Zhumulangma and conduct scientific research in this field.
Let us look forward to the continued glittering of China-Nepal friendship and cooperation across Mount Zhumulangma in the new era; let us work together to make the China-Nepal border a bond to build a shared bright future for China and Nepal.