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President Xi’s visit to Nepal opens new chapter of China-Nepal friendship

By Hou Yanqi (People's Daily)    09:58, October 13, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Nepal at the invitation of his Nepali counterpart Bidya Devi Bhandari. It is his first state visit to the country, and also the first one paid by a Chinese President in 23 years.

President Xi’s visit, eagerly anticipated by the Nepali people, has led to a jubilant atmosphere across the beautiful country known for its snow mountains. As the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, I feel excited and proud to have witnessed and participated in this historic moment.

China and Nepal are friendly neighbors connected by mountains and rivers. For thousands of years, the two peoples have opened up roads on the mighty Himalaya mountains and left numerous great stories of friendly exchanges.

Eminent Chinese monks Fa Hien in Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420 A.D.) and Huen Tsang in Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) had both visited Nepal to study Buddhist doctrine and culture, and ancient Nepali King Amshu Varman married his daughter, Princess Bhrikuti Devi to the then Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.

It is also known that more than 700 years ago, famous Nepali architect Arniko came to China and directed the construction of many buildings including the famous White Stupa in Beijing’s Miaoying Temple.

These stories have been inherited from generation to generation, witnessing the development of China-Nepal friendship.

China and Nepal have maintained frequent high-level exchanges and constantly enhanced political mutual trust since the establishment of their diplomatic ties in 1955.

The two countries show mutual support on issues concerning the core interests of each other. Nepal has a long-term stance of adhering to the one-China policy, and China has unswervingly supported Nepal in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence, and national dignity.

Over the years, China and Nepal have worked hand in hand on the paths of development. China has tried its best to support Nepal in its social and economic development, helping with the construction of many projects conducive to the improvement of the Nepali’s livelihood, such as the construction of roads, schools, hospitals, and hydropower plants.

The two countries have also maintained close coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs, sparing no effort to jointly safeguard international justice and defend the rights and interests of developing countries.

In recent years, China-Nepal relations have enjoyed sound momentum of development under the earnest efforts and personal guidance of the leaders of the two countries.

This April, President Bhandari made a state visit to China and attended the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the opening ceremony of the 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition.

During her stay in Beijing, President Bhandari and President Xi held a cordial meeting, having in-depth discussions on China-Nepal relations and pointing the way for the future development of their bilateral ties.

Under the frame work of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China and Nepal have achieved remarkable fruits in their mutually beneficial cooperation in such areas as connectivity, trade and investment, and energy, and the Nepal-China Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network has taken shape covering highway, railway, port, aviation, and communication.

China is now Nepal’s biggest source of investment and second largest trading partner, as well as one of the latter’s most important cooperation and development partners. Last year, the two countries witnessed a bilateral foreign trade volume of $1.1 billion.

Today, Chinese companies can be seen everywhere across Nepal. There, they have successfully completed irrigation and highway projects such as the Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project and the first phase of the Ring Road Improvement Project in Kathmandu. In addition, they are also currently working on the international airports in Pokhara and Lumbini.

Besides, the people-to-people bonds between China and Nepal have been increasingly enhanced with each passing day. The genuine friendship has been greatly treasured and become even more precious in trials and tribulations.

For the past 20 straight years, China has been sending medical teams to Nepal and endeavoring to help alleviate Nepali people’s pain and suffering.

The immediate help offered by the Chinese government and people after Nepal was hit by a mega earthquake in April 2015 has become an unforgettable memory for the Nepali. A series of post-disaster reconstruction projects were gradually completed with the assistance from China.

Today, as Nepal is striving to realize its vision of "Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali," China is ready to share its development experiences and dock development strategies of the two countries for common development.

China and Nepal have also enjoyed increasingly closer people-to-people exchanges and varying forms of communication activities.

As the second largest and fastest growing source of tourists for Nepal, China has seen more than 150,000 tourists traveling to Nepal the last year. The figure represented a 46.8 percent year-on-year growth.

Meanwhile, a great number of Nepali students have studied in China with scholarships offered by the Chinese government. After returning to their motherland, these young talents have grown into experts in various fields and contributed to the social and economic development of their home country.

Moreover, a series of such cultural activities as Chinese Film Festival, China Festival, and Happy Chinese New Year have achieved success in Nepal. The two countries are also seeing frequent mutual visits and exchanges among the youth, media, and think tanks.

With the ever-growing “Chinese fever” in Nepal, over 100 Chinese volunteers are teaching Chinese in Nepali primary and secondary schools, enjoying broad popularity.

Today, as President Xi and President Bhandari chart a new course for the bilateral ties between the two countries in Nepal, China-Nepal friendship has been brought into a new historic starting point, which is believed to mark the beginning of a new period of rapid development of bilateral relations.

We believe President Xi’s visit to Nepal will be an important milestone in the history of China-Nepal relations, which will bring the evergreen traditional friendship between the two countries and their comprehensive cooperative partnership to a higher level, and thus creating greater benefits for the two countries and their peoples.

(Hou Yanqi is the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal.)

  

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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