KATHMANDU - Expressing China's resolve to strengthen its relations with Nepal on the basis of "comprehensive partnership of cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship", visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said Nepal can serve as a bridge between his country and South Asia.
Wang, who arrived here on a three-day official visit on Thursday, addressed the media jointly with his Nepali counterpart Mahendra Bahadur Pandey after completing foreign minister-level bilateral talks in Kathmandu on Friday. In his address, Wang appreciated Nepal's positioning between two large neighbours and called for Nepal to become a bond between China, India and the whole of South Asia. "Nepal is uniquely located between two large neighbours. We want Nepal to develop good relations with both the countries."
Nepal is an important neighbour for both India and China, he said, adding that China would be happy to see strong ties between Nepal and India. "Relations between China and India are mutually reinforcing. Nepal and India are also reinforcing their relations for mutual benefit and we encourage positive interaction," he said.
Stating that China is willing to work with Nepal and India in a trilateral cooperation model, he said the Chinese side seeks cooperation from both its neighbours.
Wang stressed the need to crack down on illegal border crossings and transnational crimes. About the inauguration of the China-funded Armed Police Force Academy, the Chinese foreign minister said it was a good example that Nepal and China can work together on security concerns. "We appreciate Nepal's unwavering effort in upholding its sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and pursuing development," Wang said. "China and Nepal are good neighbours and great friends," he said.
Describing the two countries as friendly neighbours with adjoining mountains and rivers, Wang said that China appreciates Nepal's firm support on issues relating to China's core interests.
"China is ready to support Nepal in its bid to graduate from a Least Developed Country by 2022," he said. "China gives highest priority to hydropower development in Nepal."
He spelt out possible areas of support as trade, investment, agriculture, tourism, energy, science and technology, security and law enforcement as well as human resource development. Wang on Friday announced increased Chinese annual aid to Nepal from 150 million RMB to 800 million RMB.
Wang picked electricity development as the key to Nepal's industrialisation, jobs creation and for improved quality of life. He said China was interested to invest in Nepal's hydropower sector. He suggested that China can assist Nepal by providing aid from several mechanisms, extending support for human resource development and bringing investment from Chinese provinces.
Addressing the media, Foreign Minister Pandey said the two sides reviewed their bilateral ties covering political, economic and cultural aspects.
"We have agreed to activate our bilateral mechanisms established at various levels to restrengthen ties."
Upcoming year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Pandey said that there could be high-level visits between Nepal and China in 2015.
"We have explored possible ways of cooperation under the framework of Silk Road Economic Belt to enhance regional connectivity, trade, tourism and other economic activities," said Pandey.