News Digest – International Relations & Foreign Affairs (February 4 – February 10)

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Photo: Xinhua

China’s interest in Nepal politics: China has ‘urged’ the political parties in Nepal to keep their internal differences aside and maintain unity since this will be in the country’s best interest. In a telephonic conversation between the Foreign Ministers of China and Nepal, the two discussed Nepal’s current political weather. The Chinese Minister said that China doesn’t want to interfere in the domestic politics of the country. Furthermore, Minister Gyawali asserted that Nepal would maintain its ‘One-China policy’.

China’s vaccine commitment: China has committed to providing Nepal with 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as a grant. This announcement was made when the two Foreign Ministers held a telephonic conversation. China added that it would prioritise its southern neighbour while distributing vaccines. However, Nepal has only approved the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, Covidsheild, so far.

China’s undeclared blockade: Nepali traders have complained that the Chinese authorities are not allowing their trucks to cross the border. During the festive season in October-November 2020, only a few of the 2,000 trucks were allowed to cross the border. The other trucks loaded with clothes, cosmetics, shoes, and industrial raw material amongst others were stopped. Furthermore, over 300 containers have remained stuck for over 16 months. These issues are causing troubles for the local traders who are unhappy about the ‘undeclared blockade’,

Nepal-India fertiliser contract: Nepal and India are a step closer to signing a long-term chemical fertiliser agreement. Nepal was prepared to send a draft proposal to the southern neighbour on February 9 for review and some comments. Nepal plans to meet 30% of the local demand through the government-to-government contract.

Tatopani border finally reopens: The Tatopani border point has finally come into operation on February 9. The Chinese authorities have allowed a ‘one-way traffic’ to Nepal. The border was closed on January 20 following some repair works required on the Miteri bridge. However, according to traders, 400 containers are still stuck on the other side of the border.

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