Kathmandu, August 11:

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ramesh Nath Pandey, who is leaving for China on Saturday on an 11-day official visit, is likely to sign some agreements in Beijing on August 15. Officials say the “substantial agreements” will give a new direction to the present need of Nepal and Sino-Nepal relations. As negotiation on those issues is still continuing, the officials declined to elaborate. When contacted, Pandey said, “My endeavour in this visit will focus on taking Nepal-China relations to new heights.” The minister will also apprise Chinese officials of the developments related to King Gyanendra’s concept of turning Nepal into a transit route for India and China. Soon after the King’s return from Jakarta, the Cabinet had formed a taskforce, including National Planning Commission Vice Chairman, Chief Secretary and other secretaries of concerning ministries in order to study the transit point concept.

The taskforce has already presented its report to the government, which has delegated responsibilities to the respective government agencies. Meanwhile, in a talk programme organised by the Nepal Council of World Affairs on the “Golden Jubilee of China-Nepal Diplomatic Relations”, Pandey lauded China’s confidence in Nepal. “China has always trusted Nepal’s ability to solve domestic problems on its own,” the minister said, praising China for not asking anything in return or being prescriptive about Chinese aid. He added China has always respected the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Nepal and offered support in times of difficulty. “It is Nepal’s long stated position that it will never allow its territory to be used for staging anti-Chinese activities,” he reiterated.

“At a time when our priority is to fight terrorism and restore peace, we appreciate the position

taken by the friendly government and people of China,” the minister said. Speaking about the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Tibet’s development, Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Sun Hepping, said, “Tibet and Nepal share a border which provides a particularly favourable natural condition for development of cooperation.”