Nepal Army Chief, China Defence Minister discuss plans to upgrade military ties

Beijing/Kathmandu, June 20

Nepal Army chief General Purna Chandra Thapa on Thursday met China’s Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe and discussed plans to upgrade the military ties between the two neighbouring countries.

Thapa is on a week-long official tour to China. He arrived in Beijing on June 16 on the invitation of China’s Peoples Liberation Army (PLA).

During the meeting, Wei said recent years have seen continuous advancement of the China-Nepal comprehensive cooperative partnership with ever-lasting friendship under the guidance of the leaders of both countries, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China highly appreciates Nepal’s firm adherence to the “one China” policy, he said, apparently referring to the Tibet and Taiwan issues.

Beijing has been investing heavily in the land-locked Himalayan nation in recent years, rapidly increasing infrastructure connectivity with the rail and road links.

Nepal also signed a transit treaty with China to use Chinese ports for its foreign trade in a bid to reduce dependence on Indian ports.

Under the “one China” policy, Nepal for its part has been cracking down hard on Tibetans crossing into India through Nepal to meet their spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

Wei stated the Chinese military’s willingness to work with the Nepalese side to maintain sound development momentum of bilateral military ties, step up long-term planning and top-level design of military cooperation and promote continuous consolidation, deepening and upgrading of the ties between the two militaries, the report said.

Thapa expressed Nepal’s appreciation towards China’s long-term support and help, saying the Nepalese armed forces were willing to step up cooperation with China in various areas and contribute to deepening the Nepal-China friendship.

On Wednesday, he met the member of the Central Military Commission of China, Li Zuocheng, at the PLA headquarters in Beijing.

During the meeting, an agreement was signed under which the PLA would provide heavy mechanical bridge, explosive ordinance disposal equipment and rescue kits, worth 150 million Yuan, to Nepal under the humanitarian assistance and disaster management, Defence Ministry sources said in Kathmandu.

The Chief of Army Staff of the Nepal Army also inspected the military structures of the PLA and visited various tourist destinations including the Great Wall.

Thapa will return Nepal on June 22. PTI

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