Nepal, China join hands to reopening disrupted Araniko Highway
KATHMANDU, Aug. 1 -- A joint team of the Nepal Army and the Chinese People's Armed Police have started work to resume the disrupted Araniko Highway on Saturday, a major trading route between the two countries.
The highway suffered severe damage due to the landslides triggered by the torrential rain after the April 25 massive earthquake in Nepal.
In a press statement, the Nepal Army said Saturday that the joint team from the two countries will clear the blockades caused by ensuing landslides at the 37-kilometer-long Tatopani-Khadichaur stretch of the Araniko Highway within next 20 days.
Earlier, the Chinese People's Armed Police team arrived in Sindhupalchowk District of Nepal at the request of the Nepal government. The joint team has mobilized 39 engineering equipment to clear the disrupted highway.
According to government officials, the Chinese team will continue its works in collaboration with the Nepal Army unless the road clearance is finished.
"The joint effort to clear the highway has been started at a time when the two countries are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations establishment," the Nepal Army said in the statement.
The army has believed that this work will help resume the bilateral trade and movement and further consolidate the bilateral ties between the two countries.
Nepal and China established the diplomatic relations on Aug. 1, 1955. The quake-stricken Nepal requested the Chinese government to help in resuming the Araniko Highway last month.
In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu said that the Araniko Highway linking China and Nepal is the important land channel for the post-disaster reconstruction of Nepal.
"The reopening of Araniko Highway is one of supported projects of the Chinese side to Nepal and will play an important role in improving the trade and deepening friendship between China and Nepal," the embassy said Saturday.
According to the concrete analysis and field research by the Chinese People's Armed Police team, the Araniko Highway is damaged seriously, the embassy said.
"Since it is still in monsoon and aftershocks happen irregularly, the large landslide and collapse may occur at any time. Hence, it is hard and risky for the Chinese People's Armed Police to reopen the Arniko Highway, either of which is cliff or rolling rocks," the embassy said.
The embassy said that the Chinese People's Armed Police's help for reopening the Araniko Highway has a great significance on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
"This sets the best example of friendship between China and Nepal and writes a moving chapter of being a friend in need, a friend indeed," read the embassy statement.
China pledged 3 billion yuan (483 million U.S. dollars) in aid for Nepal at the International Conference on Nepal's reconstruction in Kathmandu in June.