China, Nepal sign 14 pacts, including on railway construction

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Beijing, June 21 (IANS) China and Nepal on Thursday signed 14 agreements, including one on railway construction in the Himalayan nation, following a meeting between visiting Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang.

Both sides struck the deal on conducting feasibility study of a railway line connecting the border town of Kerung to Nepali capital Kathmandu. The MoU was signed by Nepal’s Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth and his Chinese counterpart Li Xiaopeng.

China will bear the cost of the 121.480 km project.

Kathmandu and Beijing had in principal agreed to expand the Chinese railway beyond Nepal border in 2016 during the visit of Oli but no agreement was reached that time.

The Chinese railway authorities will conduct the pre-feasibility of the project within August and will start preparing the detailed project report by the next two years.

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The construction will be completed within five years. The Chinese side said its rail will likely reach near Nepal border in 2022. After that, the construction of cross border railway will commence.

Mahaseth and Li also signed a protocol on the utilisation of highways in Tibet by Nepal for cargo transport. With this agreement, Nepal can use the Tibetan highways to ferry goods and logistics to its northern part close to Tibet, but difficult to access from other parts of Nepal.

Other MoU inked was investment and cooperation on production capacity between the National Development and Reforms Commission of China and National Planning Commission of Nepal.

Similarly, an agreement between the two governments was signed on reconstruction of the Friendship Bridge in Tatopani of Sindhupalchowk and Rasuwagadhi of Rasuwa districts of Nepal that were damaged due to the 2015 earthquake. These two bridges link Nepal and China in two busiest trading routes.

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Another MoU was signed on the setting up of mechanism for facilitation on the implementation of China-Nepal Cooperation Programmes and Projects in Nepal.

Several others pacts were signed on energy cooperation, Nepal’s Nuwakot Palace Restoration Project at Durbar Square, public schools recovery project in Rasuwa, Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk.

Nepal and China also agreed to strengthen people to people relations, partnership in tourism sector, exchanges of socio-cultural in various sectors and coordination and dialogue on major international issues.

–IANS

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