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Nepal, China sign three pacts to boost energy, economic ties

LiveMint logoLiveMint 15-08-2017 Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu: Nepal and China on Tuesday signed three pacts to further boost their ties in power and energy sectors and undertake a feasibility study to excavate natural gas and petroleum in the Himalayan country, including in the southern Terai plains.

The pacts were signed after visiting Chinese vice premier Wang Yang held discussions with Nepal’s deputy prime ministers Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar and Krishna Bahadur Mahara.

Gachhadar reiterated Nepal’s commitment to the ‘One China’ policy, “including the principled position of not allowing its territory to be used against neighbours.”

Both sides held discussions on enhancing cooperation in tourism, infrastructure development, energy, cross-border connectivity and people-to-people relations, he said.

The agreements signed today cover economic and technological cooperation, oil and gas resources exploration, and promotion of investment, according to Nepal’s foreign ministry.

The pacts include a feasibility study for excavating natural gas and petroleum in mountain areas and plains of the Terai region, Nepal’s state-run National News Agency reported.

The two countries also agreed to establish hydropower projects and transmission lines and take steps for economic and technological development in Nepal, which suffers from acute shortage of electricity.

Finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi told the agency that China responded positively on Nepal government’s request to immediately reopen the 114-kilometre Araniko highway - an old route connecting the two countries.

The highway was damaged and subsequently closed following the massive earthquake in Nepal in 2015. China has agreed in principle to upgrade the highway, the report said.

The two countries, however, could not reach a concrete decision on developing other infrastructure projects such as constructing the Kerung-Kathmandu-Lumbini railway track and a bridge in Timure of Rasuwa district in northern Nepal.

“The Chinese side is positive over the matter, but extensive talks and discussions are essential as a single round of talks is not enough to finalise all issues. They are positive towards our priorities of national development,” said Subedi.

Earlier today, the Chinese vice premier announced a $1 million assistance to Nepal, where more than 100 people have died in flooding and landslides. China’s vice premier Yang led the Chinese delegation while Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara led the Nepalese delegation during the talks. Yang arrived in Kathmandu yesterday from Pakistan after attending the country’s Independence Day celebrations as a “special guest”.

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