Nepal’s senior ministers have approved two proposals tabled for PM Oli’s upcoming visit to China –
- China’s proposal to repair the two Friendship bridges (Tatopani and Kerung) be approved.
- ‘Nepal China Cooperation on Energy Sector’ be signed.
These two deals will be signed during PM Oli’s 5 day official visit to China from June 19.
Nepal and China have been keen towards increasing bilateral relations between them, with a special emphasis on connectivity and the energy sector. The approved proposals show the commitment of the two governments to do so.
Nepal has two international border crossing points with its northern neigbour – Tatopani and Kerung. However, the Tatopani border transit point has remained closed after the great earthquake of April, 2015 damaged the Friendship bridge at Tatopani. The other international crossing point between China and Nepal is Rasuwagadhi-Kerung transit point. This passage was opened for international movement in 2014.
Nepal realised it needs to open more transit points with its northern neighbour upon suffering from the unofficial border blockade by the Indian Government in 2015. With all southern borders closed and the Tatopani border closure due to the earthquake, Nepal’s only road connectivity for trade with the international world was the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border. That too, because of lack of infrastructure proved an ineffective border passing. The nation suffered a huge economic and humanitarian crisis as essential commodities such as food, fuel and medicines were in shortage.
China’s interest to build the Friendship bridge in Tatopani has also increased hopes of a speedier reconstruction amidst residents of Tatopani.
It is also being said the two countries will sign an agreement on China’s investment in Nepal’s hydro energy plants. The agreement consists of specific hydroelectricity projects and cross-border transmission lines.