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China-Nepal Friendship Elevated to New Heights


Hou Yanqi

China and Nepal are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers and close partners that share weal and woe.

During the most critical moment of China’s anti-virus fight last year, the Nepali government donated masks to China, and people from all walks of life in Nepal showed their support to China through rallies and processions, candlelight prayers, collecting signatures and more.

The Chinese side has also offered a helping hand to Nepal in its fight with the novel coronavirus, through material donations, procurement assistance, videoconferences and keeping the smooth operation of trade to safeguard Nepali people’s livelihoods.

In May 2020, President Xi Jinping said in his speech at the videoconference of the 73rd World Health Assembly that China will make its COVID-19 vaccine global public goods when available, contributing to vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.

To implement President Xi’s commitment, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China attaches great importance to Nepal’s urgent need for vaccines during a phone conversation with Nepali Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali in February.

With the joint efforts of both sides, the first delivery of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines, which were donated by the Chinese government, arrived at Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, on March 29.

Nepali Health Minister Hridayas Tripathi attended a welcome ceremony for the donated vaccines at the airport and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli took part in the handover ceremony at his residence that afternoon.

The prime minister highly appreciated the solemn commitment made by Chinese President Xi on international cooperation in vaccines and the valuable support China is giving developing countries, adding that Chinese government’s positive anti-pandemic measures set an example for the rest of the world.

Both the Nepali and Chinese governments uphold the philosophy of putting people’s health and lives first and foremost. It is believed that the vaccine assistance of the Chinese government will strongly help Nepal defeat the pandemic and recover its economy.

Affected by the rebound of the global pandemic and the rapid spread of the virus, Nepal is facing a severe threat of a new wave of the disease. China’s vaccines are providing timely assistance. The country has started its vaccination campaign with the help of China-donated COVID-19 vaccines.

The safety and effectiveness of Chinese vaccines are highly recognized by the Nepali people, who take the initiative to queue up for hours to get vaccinated.

Many of the vaccine recipients are students studying in China and those engaged in economic and trade exchanges between the two countries. They expressed their gratitude for China’s aid and praised the long-lived partnership between China and Nepal.

According to the friendly consultations between the two sides, Nepal also actively coordinated with China’s Spring Vaccination Program, to offer Chinese nationals in Nepal free COVID-19 vaccines, which fully reflects the deep friendship of the two countries.

The pandemic has had a complex impact on the world, inevitably affecting personnel exchanges and cooperation in various fields between countries since last year.

Encouragingly, the China-Nepal relations and the cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative have not been suspended.

President Xi and his Nepali counterpart Bidya Devi Bhandari exchanged letters with each other, jointly announcing 8,848.86 meters as the newly measured height of Mount Qomolangma, which is known as Mount Everest in the West, reflecting that bilateral ties have also been elevated to a new height in the new era.

China continues to be the top source of foreign investment in Nepal, and a series of bilateral cooperation projects are advancing in an orderly manner. The Chinese-built Melamchi Water Supply Project completed the water test of a tunnel, which has been expected by Nepali people for more than 20 years.

The two countries respect, understand and support each other on major issues such as national sovereignty, territorial integrity and human rights, and are working together to safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

We will strengthen bilateral exchanges, focus on pandemic prevention, interconnection, development, and coordination, and deepen cooperation in various fields under the Belt and Road Initiative Framework, steadily push forward the Trans-Himalayan Multidimensional Connectivity Network and jointly create a closer community with a shared future between China and Nepal.

(Hou, Chinese ambassador to Nepal, contributed this article on Belt and Road News.)


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