China has proposed creating an “economic corridor” through Nepal to India, amid moves to tighten bonds with the new government in Kathmandu.
The proposal came during talks in Beijing between Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Gyawali is on his first trip to China.
At a press briefing after their talks, Wang said: “Let me say China and Nepal have agreed on a long-term vision of a multi-dimensional cross-Himalaya connectivity network.”
The two countries have already signed an agreement on China’s huge Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but Wang sought to portray the news as an arrangement that would benefit India and Nepal, as well as China.
“We believe that a well-developed connectivity network can also create conditions for an economic corridor connecting China, Nepal and India … [and] will contribute to development and prosperity for all three countries,” the Chinese foreign minister said.
Late last year, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli won Nepal’s first elections since 1999. Oli, who recently visited India – its traditional benefactor – is regarded as “pro-Beijing.”
India officially opposes China’s BRI.