Nepal’s Continued Struggle: China’s Hollow Assurances Fail to Deliver Relief

Amidst ongoing hardships faced by Nepalese citizens due to China’s blockade of key border crossings, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha’s recent visit to China has once again brought forth hollow assurances from Beijing regarding the reopening of borders.

For years, China’s unannounced blockade of crucial border points, including the Kerung border crossing in Rasuwa and the Tatopani border crossing in Sindhupalchok, has inflicted immense suffering on the people of Nepal. Despite repeated appeals from Nepal, China’s promises of reopening these vital trade routes have failed to materialize.

In his latest visit, Shrestha returned with promises from the Chinese side to reopen the 14 traditional trade border crossings, closed under the pretext of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, such pledges have become all too familiar, with little to no action being taken on the ground.

While Shrestha expressed optimism regarding the decision’s potential to alleviate the daily struggles of Nepalis residing near the Chinese border, skepticism looms large among the populace, given China’s track record of broken promises.

Moreover, discussions surrounding the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) raise concerns about Nepal’s sovereignty and the potential debt traps associated with Chinese infrastructure projects.

Although Shrestha highlighted positive outcomes such as free Chinese visas for Nepalese citizens and the resumption of the Kathmandu-Lhasa direct bus service, concerns persist that they are merely crumbs thrown to distract from China’s overarching agenda.

Shrestha’s optimism about strengthening relations with China rings hollow in the face of continued border closures and economic exploitation. The proposed joint commission and talks of increased flight operations serve as mere smokescreens to conceal China’s hegemonic ambitions in the region.

Nepal deserves more than empty promises and superficial gestures from its neighbors. It’s time for the government to prioritize the interests and well-being of its citizens over appeasing China’s whims. As Nepal looks ahead to the future, it must assert its sovereignty and demand concrete actions, not hollow assurances, from its neighbors.


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