China on Tuesday said its weal and woe friendship with Nepal will not change after the resignation of premier K P Oli, amid concerns here over the fate of a number border connectivity deals struck during his regime to blunt India’s influence in Nepal.
“The friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Nepal will not change due to the fall of Oli government,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement.
“As Nepal’s neighbour and friend, we sincerely hope that all parties can keep Nepal’s national interests in mind and stay committed to the country’s stability and development,” Lu said.
“China and Nepal share weal and woe, (prosperity and adversity),” he said, adding “no matter how the international and domestic situations change, the friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries will not change.
His comments came as Chinese media expressed concern over the prospects of the return of India’s influence in Kathmandu and the fate of agreements reached by Oli to reduce his land -locked country’s dependence on India.
“Friendly China-Nepal ties benefit the people of both countries,” state-run Global Times quoted Chinese experts as saying.
“It is very likely that India was behind Oli’s resignation because Oli had signed several deals during his State visit to China in March, which most likely irritated India,” Wang Dehua, director of the Institute for Southern and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Municipal Centre for International Studies, told the Global Times.
Wang said a politically stable Nepal could eliminate the border security concerns for both India and China. And a positive, cooperative Sino-Nepalese relationship is in India’s interests.
During his visit here, Oli signed the Transit Transport Agreement (TTA)to improve the connectivity between Nepal and Tibet in a bid to end decades old dependency on India for daily supplies.
Beijing in a strategic move has also agreed to extend the train link in Tibet to Nepal to improve the connectivity by road and rail.
China has also sent large oil supplies to Kathmandu during the blockade imposed by the agitating Madhesis agitation opposing the new Constitution. Wang said the TTA could be a very good opportunity to interconnect the countries and facilitate regional business development.
“However, India fears that the railway may threaten its territory. I believe that most Nepalese still want to maintain a peaceful and positive relationship with China, and those deals will still be implemented for the sake of regional prosperity,” Wang said.