Nepal | May 28, 2020

Editorial: Landmark visit

The Himalayan Times
Share Now:

China has expressed firm commitment to help Nepal become ‘land-linked’ through greater connectivity

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who paid a two-day state visit to Nepal at the invitation of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, has said Nepal will no longer remain ‘land-locked’, but will become a ‘land-linked’ country through better connectivity network with the northern neighbour. He is the first Chinese president to visit Nepal after a hiatus of 23 years. The last Chinese president to visit Nepal was Jiang Zemin, in December 1996. Under the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network (THMCN), which is the Nepali version of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), of which Nepal is a member, President Xi said feasibility study of the trans-Himalayan railway would start shortly. China will also be supporting the construction of a tunnel road and upgrading the Araniko Highway, which was shut down after the devastating 2015 earthquake. Other roads linking Nepal with China’s Tibet will also be upgraded. According to officials from both the sides, all the Chinese-funded projects will be coordinated under the THMCN. Nepal has so far not been able to reap benefits from the seven Chinese ports (three land ports and four seaports) and the protocol to the transit and transport agreement due to the poor condition of roads in Nepal.

At the end of Xi’s visit, both the countries signed as many as 20 agreements to further enhance the bilateral relations that have remained cordial since both sides established diplomatic relations in 1955. The list of agreements include, among others, boundary management system; MoU on cooperation on governance capacity building; treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters; MoU on Sagarmatha protection cooperation; MoU on promoting key projects of investment and cooperation on productive capacity; MoU on feasibility study of China-Nepal cross-border railway project; MoU regarding cooperation in disaster risk reduction and emergency response; protocol for the export of citrus fruits from Nepal; MoU on the establishment of a joint working group of trade; MoU on the establishment of an investment cooperation working group; and MoU on tunnels’ construction cooperation.

President Xi’s visit has helped cement the age-old and problem-free ties between the two countries. Better connectivity with China is expected to boost Nepal’s trade with China and East Asia. Xi’s visit is a landmark in that China has expressed firm commitment to help Nepal become a land-linked country. The hearty welcome accorded to President Xi by both the Nepal government and the Nepali people is an affirmation of our goodwill for China and its people and Nepal’s unequivocal support of the one-China policy that has remained unchanged despite changes in the political system in the country. With China showing great commitment to our development endeavours, it is only right that we do regular follow-up on the agreements reached between the two countries. At his banquet speech on Saturday, President Xi drew Nepal’s attention towards timely implementation of the projects identified by both the sides. We must take his statement seriously. His pledge to upgrade Nepal’s northern entry points to develop multi-connectivity shows just how much importance China attaches to Nepal.

Preventable mishaps

With millions of people travelling on roads that are in poor condition during festival time, an accident is inevitable, especially when a poorly maintained vehicle is also carrying passengers beyond its capacity. A major bus accident in Sindhupalchowk to the northeast of Kathmandu Friday morning took the lives of 11 people and left 101 injured when the bus turned turtle. The bus had fallen 60 metres from the road after the brakes failed. The first thing that comes to mind is, how could a bus with a seating capacity for 40 or 50 be carrying 113 passengers, with more than half of them on the rooftop?

The accident could have been largely prevented, or at least fewer people would have suffered in the incident were it not for the greed of the bus driver. There is a tendency to cram as many passengers as possible in vehicles, especially during festival time, taking advantage of the hapless people who must reach their destination on time. A little vigilance by the traffic police on the highways could go a long way in preventing such accidents caused by overloading. With so many accidents taking place on the roads year after year, travelling is becoming a nightmare in Nepal.

A version of this article appears in print on October 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

ANFA president's statement draws controversy

KATHMANDU: All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) President Karma Tsering Sherpa during a video interview said that nationality is weak in the Madhesi community. ANFA President Sherpa, during the interview with Durbin Nepal, made the controversial remark that Madhesi community needed a lesson on n Read More...

Rautahat crosses 100-mark with 35 new COVID-19 cases

RAUTAHAT: The number of COVID-19 positive cases crossed hundred with 35 people testing positive for the infection in Rautahat district, on Wednesday. Among the new cases, eight people have been infected in Gaur Municipality, 16 in Ishanath Municipality, two in Dewahi Gonahi Municipality, two in K Read More...

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 5.6 million, death toll tops 349,500

More than 5.6 million people have been reported infected with the novel coronavirus globally and 349,555 have died, a Reuters tally shows. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. The Americas have em Read More...

'Maintain sexual and reproductive health services during pandemic'

Previous experience from Ebola epidemic in Liberia has already proven that discontinuing heath services unrelated to epidemic response resulted in more deaths than the epidemic itself. Most of the reproductive health services are time sensitive and further delay or denial in seeking services can inc Read More...

FIR against 20 persons for involvement in killing Dalit youth, friends

JAJARKOT: The families of the victims of Chaurjahari incident have filed a First Incident Report (FIR) against 20 persons for their involvement in the killings of Dalit youth Nawaraj BK and his friends, in District Police Office, Jajarkot on Wednesday. As per the FIR, Chaurjahari Municipality-8 c Read More...

Taiwan president pledges humanitarian relief for Hong Kongers

TAIPEI: Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday pledged to draw up a plan to give humanitarian relief to people involved in pro-democracy protests in Taiwan's most concrete intervention since a renewal of unrest in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong. China's proposed new security legislation for Read More...

Renault and Nissan rule out merger as they unveil survival plan

PARIS/TOKYO: Renault, Nissan Motor Co and Mitsubishi Motors Corp ruled out a merger on Wednesday and instead said they would cooperate more closely on vehicle development to slash costs and salvage their troubled alliance. The three carmakers are reeling from the coronavirus pandemic which engu Read More...