International border point at Rasuwagadi
Kathmandu, August 30
Rasuwagadi-Kerung has been upgraded to an international border point, facilitating the movement of third-country citizens through the border crossing. So far, only Nepali
and Chinese nationals had been allowed to enter each other’s countries through this border crossing.
In June, the foreign ministries of Nepal and China had exchanged diplomatic notes for the upgradation of Rasuwagadi-Kerung, which was first opened as a bilateral border point on December 1, 2014.
Speaking at a press conference held at the office of the Consulate General of Nepal in Lhasa today, Tibetan Autonomous Region Government Assistant Chairman Luo Mei said besides helping boost trade, tourism and people-to-people relations between Nepal and China, the upgradation of this border point would also aid the implementation of China’s One Belt One Road initiative.
According to a consulate general’s office statement, Consul General of Nepal to Lhasa Gobinda Bahadur Karki said since Nepal was already a signatory to the OBOR initiative and the two countries had prioritised connectivity and promotion of trade, tourism and investment, initiatives had to be taken to operationalise more Nepal-China border points, including Tatopani, which had remained closed since the April 2015 earthquake. Other officials of the Tibetan Autonomous Region Government present at the press briefing said Rasuwagadi-Kerung would become an important gateway for China to connect to South Asia. Although development of necessary physical infrastructure on the Chinese side of the border, according to Luo, is almost complete, poor state of roads and other infrastructure on the Nepali side has had stakeholders doubting the benefits of upgradation of this border point.
“Indeed, it’s a positive development and it will help boost tourism,” said Nepal Tourism Board CEO Deepak Raj Joshi, adding that there are many international tourists (other than Chinese) who wish to fly to Tibet and return to Nepal via land. “However, to reap optimum benefits the government has to upgrade roads and other physical infrastructure on the Nepali side.” Joshi said after closure of Tatopani border point, foreign tourist arrivals via China through land route has almost ground to a halt.
“Since trans-Himalayan border crossings in themselves are major tourist attractions, the international border point at Rasuwagadi raises new hopes” he said, adding that the government should immediately start upgrading roads connecting Rasuwagadi to the highways.
Nepal Chamber of Commerce President Rajesh Kaji Shrestha said upgradation of the border point would help tourism more than trade.