SURKHET, Sept 24: Pillar number 11 erected in the Lalung area in Namkha Rural Municipality-6 of Humla along the Nepal-China border which was said to have been missing for several years has been recovered, officials said.
A team of Nepali authorities led by Chief District Officer of Humla Chiranjibi Giri recovered the missing border pillar during a field visit on Wednesday amid media reports on the alleged construction of 11 buildings in the Nepali territory by the Chinese side.
Chairman of Namkha Rural Municipality Bishnu Bahadur Tamang said that the missing border pillar was found at Takule area. The border pillar was found to have been covered by snow. The area is located some 5,200 meters above sea level, near Kailash Mansarovar of Tibetan Autonomous Region of China.
“More details on the missing border pillar will be made available once the CDO-led team reaches the district headquarters,” Tamang told Republica.
Two separate teams comprising Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department personnel were deployed to locate the missing border pillar.
“It took three days for us to find out the location of the missing border pillar,” a security official involved in locating the missing border pillar told Republica, adding that it will be clear whether the Chinese side has encroached upon Nepali territory soon.
Earlier on Wednesday, the government refuted media reports about alleged encroachment of Nepali territory by China in Humla district. At a press conference, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali said there was no dispute over territory between Nepal and China.
Addressing a press conference organized to share with the media the Cabinet decisions on Wednesday evening, Minister Gyawali, who is also the government's spokesperson, said a similar news about land encroachment from the Chinese side in Limi village in Humla district had surfaced four years ago. The government had then formed a probe committee to see if the news was true.
Minister Gyawali said the probe committee comprising officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Land Reform had later shown that the Chinese side had constructed buildings some 1 kilometer away from the Nepal-China border. New buildings were constructed by the Chinese authorities for their border security personnel in the same area recently.
Minister Gyawali also said that a team led by the Chief District Officer (CDO) of Humla district visited Limi village and further details about it will be made available once the team returns to the district headquarters.
Issuing a separate press statement on Tuesday evening, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Department of Survey, Government of Nepal, based on the official records, reports of the joint field inspection and boundary maps, has verified and confirmed that the said buildings are not located within the Nepali territory.
"It may be recalled that the matter of buildings in question also surfaced in some media in 2016. An inter-ministerial team after the field inspection had concluded that the said buildings were located approximately one kilometer inside the Chinese territory from the Nepal-China border," said the statement.
The MoFA in the statement further said the boundary between Nepal and China was delineated and demarcated based on the Boundary Treaty and Boundary Protocols signed between the two countries. "Nepal and China have always maintained close communication on border matters," it said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Embassy of China in a statement had asked Nepali authorities to verify the border points as agreed between the two countries in the past, denying encroachment of Nepali territory. "The buildings mentioned in the media have been verified to be on the Chinese side of the China-Nepal border. The Nepali side may make verification again," a spokesperson for the Embassy of China in Kathmandu said.
The spokesperson also said that there are no territorial disputes whatsoever between Nepal and China. "China and Nepal have no territorial disputes. The two sides have always maintained close communication on border affairs," the spokesperson further said.
The disputed area lies in Lampcha village of Namkha Rural Municipality in Humla district. Locals said Chinese border security forces have reportedly constructed at least 11 buildings in the area claimed both by Nepal and China.