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Nepal Assures Beijing It Won't Allow Any 'Force' to Carry Out 'Anti-China Separatist Activity'

Nepal China Border - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.05.2022
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian warned last week that the US must offer “no support to the anti-China separatist activities” by the Dalai Lama or other Tibetan exiles lodged in India and Nepal. The remarks by the Chinese official came during the visit of Uzra Zeya, the US coordinator on Tibetan issues, to New Delhi and Kathmandu.
Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal has assured Beijing that the land-locked South Asian country won’t allow any “force” to use its territory for carrying out “anti-China separatist activity”, a release from the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

“The Nepalese side firmly adheres to the one-China policy”, Paudyal told China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao during the 14th meeting of Nepal-China Diplomatic Consultation Mechanism held online on Wednesday.

The reassuring remarks by Kathmandu came against the backdrop of Nepalese opposition politicians, including former Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, slamming the Sher Bahadur Deuba administration for allowing a meeting between Tibetan refugees and Uzra Zeya, the US under secretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights and US special coordinator for Tibetan issues, this month.
The US official was on a five-day visit to India and Nepal between 17 and 22 May.

"We have always pursued the policy of non-alignment. We always give priority to national interest and we always follow the policy of non-intervention. As we remain non-aligned in other countries' affairs, instigating Tibetan refugees on Nepali soil is wrong", Oli told MPs from the Unified Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), the party he leads.

During her visit to India, Zeya also met the figurehead of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, a meeting which was condemned by Beijing as “interference” in China's “affairs”.
Beijing calls the 14th Dalai Lama a “separatist” who is “disguised as a religious figure”. The Dalai Lama and thousands of his supporters have been living in India since 1959, after a crackdown by Beijing in the wake of a failed Tibetan uprising.

Nepal and China to Intensify Cooperation Under BRI

Further, both Nepal and China have also decided to intensify cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework during Wednesday’s meeting.

A Nepalese Foreign Ministry readout said that both sides “agreed to promote cooperation” in areas such as trade, transit, connectivity, investment, health, tourism, poverty alleviation, disaster management, education, and culture.

Kathmandu signed up for the Beijing-backed BRI, a multi-trillion dollar global connectivity initiative, in 2017.
In 2019, Xi Jinping became the first Chinese president to visit Kathmandu in over two decades, a visit focused on enhancing connectivity, trade, and defence ties between the two nations. The same year, China overtook India as the largest foreign investor in the Himalayan country.
However, the US and India, the latter of which has traditionally been Nepal’s closest trade and security partner, have been pushing back against rising Chinese influence in the country since Prime Minister Deuba replaced Oli last year.
The Deuba government this year signed on to a $500 million grant under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US government agency assisting in development projects in middle and low income countries. The MCC pact was first offered to Nepal in 2017, but was hanging fire for years over concerns that ratifying the deal would erode Kathmandu’s sovereignty.
Nepal and the US this month also signed a five-year Development Assistance Agreement, which is valued at $659 million. According to the US Embassy in Nepal, the agreement will help Nepal graduate to a “middle income country”.
Meanwhile, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a day-long visit to Nepal on 16 May, in a bid to boost cooperation in hydropower development, partnership and connectivity.
The trip was the fifth time that Modi visited Nepal since coming to power in 2014, which Indian officials say was a “reflection of upward trajectory in our mutually beneficial partnership”.
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