News Digest: International Relations & Foreign Affairs (October 7- 19, 2021)

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In a telephone conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pledged his full support to Nepal on the Golden Jubilee of validating its seat at the United Nations. He said that he wanted to truly protect multilateralism, resist interference in the countries’ internal affairs, counteract unilateralism, and cooperate with Nepal on the issues of common interest between the two countries and regions. Minister Wang also announced additional vaccine assistance to Nepal to fight against the Pandemic.

The strategic partnership between China and Nepal has barely progressed in the last two years. The Analysts say that the term’ strategic partnership’ is ambiguous. Even the Trade and Transit agreement signed in 2019 is unimplemented as the standard operating procedure is not formulated yet.

The spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy stated that the report does not confirm the border dispute between Nepal and China. He said there is no border dispute between Nepal and China. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the border treaty between Nepal and China. The border has been free from any dispute since its inception.

On meeting the Nepali Congress delegation, Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi said that both countries’ governments should prioritize building relations between their people, who share the same religion and culture. He stated that helping Nepal and resolving its problem should always be a top priority for India.

The Nepali Congress delegation, in a meeting with India’s Minister of External Affairs on October 8, highlighted the ‘Tuin Incident’ of Darchula. Minister Jaishankar mentioned that an investigation would be carried out. The meeting also focused on border disputes, supply of manure, import of Covid-19 vaccine, and many other issues.

The Chinese Defense Ministry has asked for an explanation regarding the US submarine collision with “unknown object” in the South China Sea. The spokesperson also said that United States activities in the disputed waterways pose a threat to regional and increase risks of more collisions and even nuclear leaks, demanding an end to such operations.

Sino-Indian border tensions have flared up after India rejected China’s demands to withdraw troops and weaponry brought to the Depsang Plains in the 13th round of talks, putting the situation in a deadlock. The incident follows a tense few years of escalation of engagements at the border.

A White House official reiterated the Quad’s commitment to deliver a billion Covid-19 shots across Asia by the end of 2022 which was stalled after India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, banned exports of vaccines to meet demands at home. The official said that delivering on the promise is essential to the credibility of the Quad in Asia. He also stressed that “the Quad was looking forward to working alongside groupings such as ASEAN and not compete with them”.

Russia called upon the international community to mobilize and provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan as it hosted the Taliban for an international conference on 20 October in Moscow. The event follows a series of international engagements after withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

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