Rail link with China a priority: Foreign Minister

Published On: April 21, 2018 06:15 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 21: Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali has said that developing cross-border railways between Nepal and China is a priority for Nepal government. 

Delivering a lecture on Nepal-China Relations and Development Projects in the Trans-Himalayan Region at Sichuwan University in Chengdu on Friday, Foreign Minister Gyawali appreciated China's efforts at forging cooperative links between the countries in the region and beyond under the framework of Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI). 

Minister Gyawali also appreciated the role of the BRI as an initiative aimed at addressing the infrastructural and structural bottlenecks of development. “Building cross-border infrastructure is very important for landlocked countries like ours. We expect the BRI to contribute to our development efforts,” he said. “Additionally, connectivity will help Nepal exploit the full potentials of its economic possibilities. Connectivity lies at the core of all development activities.” 

Gyawali said that Nepal and China can work together in promoting economic activities in the Himalayan belt by creating systems of value-chains to their mutual advantage as the two countries share geographical proximity and the proposed cross-border infrastructural projects are set to bring them further closer. “I believe that China's enormous manufacturing base, advanced technology and its huge domestic market, together with Nepal's rich natural, geographical and locational resources, will create the right mix of value chain and complement the continued economic growth,” he said.

The foreign minister also said there is a prospect of huge cooperation between Nepal and China in the agriculture sector. “Dissemination of Chinese agricultural technologies in Nepal can raise the overall production, crop yields and raise incomes for farmers including for those who rely on high-altitude and high-value farming,” he said, while adding that mechanization of agriculture in Nepal's fertile land will enable Nepal to increase exports and create employment. 

Minister Gyawali said that Nepal and China need to work together to realize the vast potential for development that Nepal's abundant natural resources and China's booming enterprise sector offer. “Chinese investors may utilize the investment opportunities in Nepal for mutual benefits,” he said, while assuring that Nepal government is fully committed to providing security to Chinese investors. The foreign minister also highlighted the prospect of tourism between Nepal and China.

Foreign Minister Gyawali is currently on a five-day official visit to China. He reached Chengdu, Sichuan from Beijing on Thursday and will return home Saturday morning. 

Minister Gyawali also held a meeting with Governor of the People's Government of Sichuan Province, Dr Yin Li, in Chengdu on Friday. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two sides also discussed the historical connections, geographical proximity and cultural similarities between Nepal and the Sichuan Province of China, and mentioned the role of Chengdu as an important gateway between Nepal and China.

During his stay in Chengdu, Gyawali met with leaders of Sichuan Investment Group, which has made joint-investments in Nepal's hydropower sector. He assured that Nepal Government is committed to creating conducive environment for Chinese businessmen and investors in Nepal, and would take necessary measures for facilitating investments in sectors such as energy and hydropower, agriculture and manufacturing, among others.

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