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Nepa-China Ties into New Era

On August 1, on the occasion of the 56th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Nepal, The Rising Nepal Daily published the interview with Ambassador Yang Houlan.

1. 1st August is the 56th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nepal and China. How do you comment on the bilateral relations?

Nepal and China are friendly and close neighbors for generations, and have thousands of years of history of exchanges and cooperation. It has been 56 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations on August 1, 1955.

Regardless of how the international and domestic situation changed, our bilateral relations have maintained a healthy and stable development. In 2009, the two countries established the Comprehensive Partnership of Cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship, and the bilateral relations stridden into a new ear. As the new Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, I will do my best in my term to push forward our bilateral relations and deepen our bilateral cooperation.

2. In your opinion, should Nepal-China cooperation and exchanges in various sectors, such as economy, culture and security, need further strengthening? If so, in what way?

The answer is yes. Despite the bilateral exchanges in various fields are continuously deepened, it still cannot match the aspirations of the people and the potential in many areas of both countries has not yet been fully found. In my opinion, we should strengthen the cooperation in the following aspects: Politically, the two sides should promote bilateral high-level visits, continuously consolidating the political foundation of friendship. Economically, the two sides push more pragmatic cooperation between the two countries in hydropower, agriculture, infrastructure construction and other areas, continue to accelerate the building of the land passageways, and maintain assistance to Nepal. In other fields, the two sides expand cooperation in culture, youth, women, inter-party exchanges and so on, to tighten the bonds of friendship between the two peoples.

3. Nepal is currently facing an energy crisis, does China have plans to help Nepal to exploit its giant reserve of hydropower?

China understands the difficulties in economic development caused by energy shortage in Nepal. The Chinese government attaches great importance to help Nepal to exploit its own energy resources, especially water resources, and already invests in a number of hydropower projects, such as Trishuli 3A Hydropower Station. Currently, relevant departments in China are conducting a feasibility study for investing in sectors of Nepali hydropower, and China will send a delegation of water resources experts to visit Nepal and I hope the cooperation in water resources between the two sides can achieve positive results.

4. There is a feeling here in Nepal that China's growing clout globally - both economically and politically - is not reflected in its relations with Nepal. What is your view and how can Nepal benefit from China's development?

We very much hope and are willing to share experiences, opportunities and achievements of development with Nepal. China has always actively supported Nepal's social and economic development, including infrastructure, health, culture and education. Chinese enterprises have actively participated in major construction projects in Nepal invested including Miramchi water project, Chariyal Hydro project and some tele-communication projects. Projects assisted by China like Tato Barney Port and Kathmandu Ringroad are also been speeded up. In recent years, the Chinese Government has provided Nepal various kinds of human resources training for 200 persons each year and governmental scholarships for 100 students each year. In 2010, the Chinese side introduced a zero-tariff facility for over 4700 Nepali goods and the trade volume between China and Nepal that year was around $744 million, increasing 80% by 2009. From January to May in 2011, 18.9 thousand Chinese citizens have visited Nepal, increasing by 40% over the same period in 2010.

5. How do you view the current political developments in Nepal?

The Chinese government has always insisted on non-interference policy in the internal affairs of other countries, and we respect Nepali people's own choice. The time I spent here is short. However, I have deeply felt that to achieve lasting peace, stability and development as soon as possible are the common voice of the Nepali people and common aspiration among political parties, when I have contacts and exchanges with the Nepali government, political parties and civil societies. I sincerely wish and believe that, under the Nepali people's joint efforts, the peace and constitution process will be finalized and they will build their country even better.

6. This year is the 60th Anniversary of Tibet's Peaceful Liberation, so what achievements have been made since 60 years ago?

On May 23, 1951 the Agreement of the Central People's Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet was signed in Beijing, marking the peaceful liberation of Tibet. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Central People's Government, Tibet has made unprecedented achievements in the modernization drive, and witnessed great changes in its social outlook.

First, Tibet has achieved a leapfrog in the development of the social system. The dark, backward feudal serfdom was completely abolished. The one million serfs have become masters of the country and society. They have come to enjoy extensive political, economic, cultural and social rights in accordance with the law. Their mindset and spiritual outlook have all changed profoundly, people of all ethnic groups in Tibet have embarked on the bright path of socialism.

Second, Tibet has achieved all-round economic and social development. The establishment of the socialist system, implementation of reform and opening-up policy and the preferential polices introduced by the central government have lent a strong impetus to the economic and social development in Tibet. As a result, Tibet has enjoyed sustained rapid economic growth and achieved remarkable progress in infrastructure building. A host of advantageous industries with distinct local features are taking shape and the eco-environment is being well protected. The fine traditions of the Tibetan culture are preserved and promoted. The advanced socialist culture has become the dominant theme in the society, and sound progress is being made in various social undertakings.

Third, the living standards of the Tibetan people have markedly improved. The income of residents in cities and the countryside has continued to rise. The building of a new socialist countryside anchored on comfortable housing projects is making solid progress. The living environment of farmers and herdsmen and the conditions of farmland and pastoral areas have gone through notable changes. Education, health and other essential public service systems are being improved. The social safety net covering the entire Tibetan population in both cities and the countryside is being put in place.

Finally, ethnic unity in Tibet has steadily enhanced. The Chinese Government's ethnicity and religion-related policies are being comprehensively implemented in Tibet. The system of regional ethnic autonomy is steadily improving. Cadres of ethnic minority origin are acquiring greater competence. The socialist ethnic relations featuring equality, unity, mutual support and harmony are being reinforced and strengthened. The religious beliefs of the people are fully respected and protected.

To sum up, Tibet is now undergoing the best period of developing in history featuring development of economy, stability of society, happiness of living and unity of all ethnic groups. And all Tibetan people, under the leadership of the Central Government and with the support of the whole country, will surely create a more brighter future.

7. What is your comment on the stand of the Nepali Government on the Tibetan Issue?

As a friendly neighbor of China, Nepal always gives firm support to China on the Tibetan issue, and the Government of Nepal has repeatedly stated in public that, it never allows any forces to engage in anti-China activities in its territory, which China highly commends. Here, I want to sincerely thank the Government of Nepal, political parties in Nepal and the Nepali people for your valuable support to China on the Tibetan issue.

8. Do you think the Tibet Autonomous Region can play a particular role in enhancing the friendly relationship and cooperation between our two countries? If so, how?

Nepal and Tibet has a long history of exchanges. In recent years, their economic cooperation, personnel and cultural exchanges are booming and this trend is gratifying. On how the both sides further strengthen exchanges and cooperation, I have the following suggestions:

Firstly, we should make good use of existing platforms. Nepal and Tibet have established consultation and working mechanism of economic, trade, tourism and border-official meetings and so on, which should be made good use of for policy planning on practical cooperation in various fields.

Secondly, we should strengthen bilateral interconnection. At present, many ports and roads have been built between Tibet and Nepal, however, the hardware conditions still need to improve. So the two sides should strengthen the construction of land transportation tunnel.

Thirdly, we should enhance civil exchanges. Nepal and Tibet are close neighbors with cultural similarities, and the enthusiasm of exchanges between Nepalese and Tibetans is high. We should strengthen the friendly exchanges of culture, education, youth, women and many other fields to enhance mutual understanding. The civil exchanges between the two sides will surely play a positive role in the development of bilateral relations between our two countries.

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