China and Nepal to co-work on a bridge connecting Tibet and Nepal

Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, the Prime Minister of Nepal, started his 8-day visit to China on the 20th of March. It was reported that, during his visit to China, Oli will sign a treaty between the two countries regarding border trade. At the moment, Nepal can only do border trade through India. 

According to a report from the Voice of America Radio Station Website, on the 17th of March, the Minister from the Ministry of Industry of Nepal, Som Prasad Pandey, indicated that, Oli, during his visit to China, will sign the Border Trade Treaty and discuss many co-operating projects including those such as energy trade. Both countries will collaborate to build an airport as well as a bridge that connects Nepal and Tibet.   

It was reported that, the Nepalese media quoted a Nepalese official’s speech indicating that, although the China-Nepal Border Trade Treaty has opened a new road for Nepal’s international trade, the realization of the Border Trade Treaty is still determined by the regulations regarding maritime routes mentioned in the treaty. He indicated that, Nepal’s border area is very far from China’s maritime corridor and that unless the relating infrastructures on the Nepalese side can be developed, the border trade will be not easy to be realized. 

Prior to this, it was reported that, the newly appointed (October of last year) Prime Minister of Nepal, Oli, may choose to firstly visit China, not India. Yet traditionally, the first visits of Nepalese Ministers were always going to India. In September of last year, when Nepal ratified the new Constitution, the Madhesis people, as the descendants of the Indian people, were unsatisfied with the new Constitution and started protesting. Hereafter, India closed many border trade ports between India and Nepal. The Nepal side once indicated that, if India would not cancel the blockade, it would be possible that Minister Oli would choose China as his first destination to visit. Many foreign media outlets pointed out that, Nepal wants to bring pressure on India by relying on China. 

It was reported that, in February, the Nepalese government finally declared that Prime Minister Oli would visit India at first (Note: Oli visited India on the 19th of February). Times of India quoted the minister of the Ministry of Finance of Nepal - Bishnu Prasad Paudel’s speech indicating that: “What we uphold, being in between China and India, does not mean “selecting a one out of the two” policy, what we want to become instead is the bridge connecting the two big countries.”