'China has geo-strategic interest in Nepal because of Tibet'
Hu Shisheng is the deputy director at the Institute of South and Southeast Asian Studies in the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), Beijing. As a renowned expert on China´s foreign policy, the Chinese and Indian media often quote him on the issues of China-South Asia relations. Purna Basnet, special correspondent of Republica in Hong Kong, spoke to Hu recently about Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao´s visit to Nepal on December 20.
What is the significance of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao´s visit to Nepal in over a decade?
Nepal is an important neighbor of China, especially in view of the stability and development of Tibet. The visit is unique as this time the Chinese premier is visiting only one country in South Asia, not clubbing with other South Asian countries. It shows how significantly Chinese government values its relations with Nepal. And this visit is happening at a time when Nepal´s peace process has made substantial progress.
What will be the main agenda of the visit?
China wishes to see political stability and unity in Nepal and logical and happy ending of the peace process. In addition, China wishes to see economic vibrancy in Nepal. Similarly, the Sino-Nepal relation will also feature in the agenda of the visit.
China has requested Nepal to sign a new peace and friendship treaty. Is there any plan to take concrete step in this regard?
It is a politically sensitive issue. The time is not ripe for signing the agreement.
Do you think that China will announce an increment in its annual grant to Nepal during the premier´s visit?
What would be the Chinese interest in increasing investment in Nepal?
Nepal has three abundant resources: water resources, natural beauty and cultural resources, particularly, Buddhist culture. However, these resources have been tapped only marginally. The increase in Chinese investment could help Nepalese people to become economically independent. A prosperous and stable Nepal serves China´s interests.
Do you think Nepal could act as a bridge between the two giant markets--India and China?
Nepal is located between two giant markets. Nothing can prevent Nepal from enjoying the benefits of being located between the two economies. Just imagine, in 2010 about 54 millions Chinese tourists traveled outside of China. If facilities and infrastructures are improved, millions of Chinese will visit Nepal and other South Asian countries. Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, alone has the potential to attract a huge number of Chinese pilgrims.
Some experts say China´s interest in Nepal is geo-strategic. What is your take on this statement?
Frankly speaking, the answer is yes. Mainly in view of Nepal sharing a border with Tibet. Besides, geo-economic reasons are equally important. Nepal could be the golden bridge connecting the two giant markets. In future, if China and South Asia are integrated by physical connectivity and institutional mechanisms via Nepal, the huge population living in this vast territory could benefit a lot. If that happens, all the people of the region, especially the Chinese and Indians, will have to thank Nepal.
Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Yang Houlan warned that China has information that Nepal is turning into a playground for anti-China activities. How has Beijing taken his statement?
I personally believe that Yang´s remarks are more concerned with the Tibetan issue. For a long time, anti-China forces have carried forward their anti-China activities wantonly taking advantage of Nepal´s political instability.
Chetna, Nepal had much more trade with the princely states that now make up India (that were united together under Ashoka and the Mughals, not just the British) than they ever had with China. We have to be friends with both countries. Nepal needs access to India´s ports. Even China is interested in using Kolkata port as a port for Tibet through the Nathu La pass. Travel through rail and road via Tibet is very expensive.
helloo readers, please be aware on these writing and always be critical and open mined. the only reason why nepal was never in political consultation with chine for more than 2,000 years is because, there was a tibetan-nepal border. i´ve ready that the china-nepal border came only after then 1960´s i think thats true.
be careful to all nepali brothers and sisters. nothing againist china but we should see what it has done to all the smaller countries around it? look also
Laure you should know real history of Nepal and China, before invading Tibet in 1959, there is no any border between Nepal and China, this all border comes after 1959, so how China can invade Nepal before that. i think we are saved from china for many century by the Tibetan army.
It is true what Mr. Shisheng says. It is the geo-political situation of Nepal and the natural Himalian chains that both China and India have the stratigic interest.
It is mearly foolish to say that China has no interest in Nepal.
Just see the history, China as a nation has been there for centuries and Nepal always had coordial relationship with it for centuries, but India as a nation only came into being after 1947, due to British policy of uniting petty states and maki
what pathetic and defeated comments from my poor friends!! if u cant stand nose to nose, accept it and be friends with china ........if Chinese intentions towards Nepal were bad, they would have consumed us 200 years ago.......on the contrary its India that everyday bites us!!