Nepali Congress claims Foreign Ministry issued hasty denial on Chinese encroachment
KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 24
The main opposition Nepali Congress has condemned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for issuing a clarification on the alleged encroachment of Nepal’s territory by China in Humla district ‘without waiting for the report from local authorities that visited the disputed site’.
MoFA had issued a press release yesterday stating that on the basis of official records, reports of field inspection and boundary maps, Nepal’s Department of Survey had confirmed that the buildings said to be built by China were not in Nepali territory.
Media outlets had quoted local people saying China had encroached Nepali land by constructing 11 buildings in Lapcha Limi Area of Namkha Rural Municipality of Humla district.
NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma issued a press release today stating that MoFA made a hasty comment when it refuted allegation of encroachment of Nepali territory by China before government authorities that visited the disputed site in Humla submitted their report.
He said Nepali Congress Central Committee member and leader of the NC Parliamentary Party in Karnali Province Jeevan Bahadur Shahi was in Humla and was enquiring about the issue.
“MoFA erred by saying that our territory had not been encroached even before the visiting team submitted its report,” said Sharma.
“In case of a border dispute, it is best to make public the government’s views on the basis of inputs from the local administration, political parties and media,”
Sharma added. The NC asked the government to lodge a strong protest against China if the visiting teams found that China had encroached upon Nepal’s territory. The NC spokesperson urged the government to seek resolution of the dispute through diplomatic means.
Chairperson of Namkha Rural Municipality Bishnu Bahadur Lama said local authorities visited the site after media reported that China was building structures in Nepal. “Now that we have found Pillar No 11, it would be easy to find out whether the area where 11 buildings have been constructed by China falls in Nepal or not. Locals say they used to take their cattle to that area. Chinese citizens would also bring their cattle to the area where China has constructed the buildings,” said Lama. He added that long ago, citizens of Nepal and China were allowed by bilateral treaty to take their cattle across the border for grazing, but that agreement was no longer valid.
Karnali Province member Jeevan Bahadur Shahi told THT over phone that MoFA made a mistake by rushing to refute reports of China’s encroachment of Nepali territory.
He said Nepalis had built a road almost three kilometres north of Lapcha Limi area in 2010 where China had built structures now. “At that time Chinese authorities did not object to road construction by the Nepali side. This means the Chinese had accepted our sovereignty in Lapcha Limi and beyond,”
Shahi said and added that locals had been grazing their cattle in the area.
He said the disputed place offered a unique view of Kailash Mansarovar and the Chinese might have encroached the land to deny Humla residents an opportunity to earn from tourists visiting Kailash Mansarovar.
“We are waiting for the team members that visited the disputed site. They are supposed to return to the district headquarters tomorrow. We will hold an all-party meeting to discuss the matter,” Shahi added.