(Yicai Global) Sept. 8 -- Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi met on Sept. 7 and agreed that the Belt and Road Initiative is an important opportunity for both countries to strengthen ties.
The pair should deepen cooperation under the framework of the initiative and focus on certain priorities, they said.
The first is a cross-border railroad, in which the two agreed to cooperate in investigation, design, feasibility studies and talent training to make the idea a reality that can benefit both countries and their people, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said online.
Wang and Mahara also discussed repairing two roads, the Araniko Highway and Syabrubensi-Rasuwagadi Highway, which are major land routes between Nepal and China but were seriously damaged during a huge earthquake on April 25, 2015. The duo agreed to speed up repairs of the highways to keep them clear, Wang said.
Third on the list was the construction of three ports, Zhangmu, Jilong and Pulan. China is accelerating its geological assessment and design of Zhangmu Port and plans to reopen it as soon as possible. The two countries have upgraded Jilong Port to an international level and will improve its facilities and functions to build a cross-border economic cooperation zone there. Both also agreed to improve Pulan Port’s infrastructure and will consider building more ports if necessary.
The pair also plans to deepen cooperation in trade and investment, post-disaster reconstruction, energy and tourism. They agreed to complete the Joint Feasibility Study on China-Nepal Free Trade Agreement this year, and complete 17 post-disaster reconstruction projects to help Nepal strengthen its ability to prevent and mitigate disasters.
Nepal and China also agreed to officially sign the Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Cooperation as soon as possible to reinforce ties in oil, gas, water, electricity and clean energy to help Nepal diversify its energy sources. They will also run China-Nepal Year of Tourism, with China helping Nepalese airlines run more direct flights between the two countries. Nepal will also take measures to protect the safety, rights and interests of Chinese tourists, Wang said.
Nepal will proactively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, Mahara added. It hopes to expand its bilateral ties with China under the initiative and take cooperation in economic and trade investment, transport, tourism and other sectors up a level.