China to conduct feasibility study of Nepal projects

Kathmandu, March 23 (IANS) China has pledged to carry out a feasibility study of around a dozen projects related to infrastructure, energy and trade in Nepal.

In a joint statement issued in Beijing during the visit of Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Oli, China welcomed the promulgation of the new constitution in Nepal and said it was a “historic progress in the political transition” of the country.

“The Chinese side sincerely hopes that Nepal could take this opportunity to realise its political stability and economic development,” said the joint statement.

Nepal reiterated its commitment to a one China policy, saying it firmly supports the efforts made by China to uphold its sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity.

Nepal said it does not allow any forces to use its territory for any anti-China or separatist activities.

“The Chinese side firmly supports and respects Nepal’s own choice of social system and development path, and the efforts made by the Nepalese side in upholding its sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, national unity and stability.”

“Both sides agreed to strengthen connectivity, further step up land and air links and improve land transport infrastructure.”

It said the authorities of both sides will exchange ideas and proposals on constructing cross-border rail networks.

Both sides exchanged views on facilitating Chinese investment in key areas including infrastructure.

They also agreed to explore cross border economic cooperation zones via existing frontier ports.

The Chinese side agreed to provide more than 32,000 sets of household solar-power generation systems to Nepal, as well as to build small-size education and public health facilities in many selected locations across Nepal, and to enhance cooperation on disaster preparedness and mitigation.

Both sides agreed to conclude a commercial deal on the supply of petroleum products from China to Nepal.

In this context, they asked companies to speed up negotiations, and concerned agencies to study the policies on issues of pricing, taxation, transportation, quality control and customs and frontier formalities.

China agreed to build oil storage facilities for Nepal, and will send experts to the country to carry out a feasibility study on oil and gas resources.

“The two sides agreed to establish a Dialogue Mechanism on Energy Cooperation to facilitate long-term planning of cooperation in this area, including trans-border power grid, hydro-power and solar power, etc.,” said the statement.

Nepal also hoped that China would provide assistance for the establishment of the Madan Bhandari Institute of Technology (MBIT) in Nepal and expansion of the Civil Service Hospital.

In order to facilitate trade, tourism and investment, China would also support Chinese-funded banks to open branches in Nepal.

(Anil Giri can be contacted at girianil@gmail.com)

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