China-Nepal relations stronger than ever

By Yin Yeping Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/9 20:18:40

Further cooperation expected after pandemic: Chinese ambassador

Hou Yanqi, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Photo: courtesy of the embassy

China and Nepal are friendly neighbors and important strategic partners. As hard times reveal true friends, the two countries see that their relationship has never been so strong and will even be stronger after the pandemic.

Despite disruptions due to the virus, China and Nepal will continue to promote the development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) after the pandemic, focusing on key areas, strengthening people-to-people connectivity, infrastructure construction, people's livelihoods and mutually beneficial cooperation, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi, direct witness and participant of the bilateral ties, told the Global Times in a written interview on Tuesday.

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading globally, and the economies of all countries have been seriously affected. To combat the virus, Nepal has taken a series of strict measures, including suspending flights and closing border crossings. Chinese enterprises in Nepal have been affected, according to the Chinese Embassy in Nepal.

"The impact is mainly the limited flow of personnel, and material and equipment transportation difficulties, and most projects cannot be advanced according to schedule and have been suspended," Hou said, adding that bilateral trade has also been affected by transportation issues. 

The Chinese Embassy in Nepal is still assessing the possible impact on the future of Nepal's economy as there has been considerable uncertainty over the course of the pandemic. Hou said that as one of the least developed countries, Nepal may also take measures to stimulate its economy.

Though Nepal's economic situation has not been optimistic recently, China and Nepal will continue to conduct mutually beneficial cooperation once the pandemic is over.

A man carries medical supplies goods in Lukla Village, some 140 km northeast of Kathmandu, on March 22. Photo: AFP

The ambassador noted the virus outbreak reminds both sides that in the future, the two countries can carry out more cooperation in healthcare, e-commerce logistics and other fields. 

It is believed that Chinese-funded enterprises and projects in Nepal will be able to resume operations quickly once the pandemic is over, through friendly consultations.

"China and Nepal are long-term cooperative partners. The cooperation between the two sides and our support and assistance for Nepal will not be affected by any temporary incident," Hou said.

In the early stages of the outbreak in China, Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli sent letters to Chinese leaders to express their support and appreciation of China's efforts to curb the spread of the virus, and said they believed China would soon overcome its epidemic. The Nepali government also donated 100,000 masks to China in support of its fight against COVID-19.

"During the most difficult period in China's fight against the virus, the Nepali people offered China valuable support, which the Chinese people will never forget," said Hou, adding now that the virus has spread to Nepal, China is also doing its best to provide assistance.

The first batch of medical supplies from China arrived in Nepal on March 29, and included masks, goggles, protective clothing and other materials donated jointly by governments and organizations. Masks were also donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation.

"At present, local governments in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province, as well as some Chinese-funded enterprises have expressed their intentions to make donations and are actively preparing goods," said Hou. She noted that the Chinese embassy will continue to strengthen communication and coordination with all parties to facilitate the clearance of goods at ports and ensure the delivery of anti-epidemic materials. 

"In the next step, we will also encourage the two sides to strengthen their joint defense and control by telecommuting among experts on both sides," she said.

Posted in: ECONOMY

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