Chinese encroachment in Humla must end immediately

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It has been reported that China has illegally constructed nine buildings in Lapcha-Limi area of Humla district. A source close to the District Administration Office (DAO) informed that the team led by assistant Chief District Officer Mr. Datta Bahadur Hamal went to inspect the area after locals brought the news of the unauthorized buildings constructed by China. Mr. Hamal and team went and inspected the area from 14-19 Bhadra. Upon seeing nine building constructed by China in Nepalese territory, the DAO, Humla reported about the encroachment to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and the case has already been forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

While the construction might have been made over a period of time, the lack of proper administrative and security presence in the remote area might have opened the scope for encroachment. All of this comes at a time when Nepal is also embroiled in a similar dispute with India over the encroachment of territories encompassing Kalapani, Lipulek and Limpiyadhura.

Nepal and China have always enjoyed excellent relations that have been based on the five principles of peaceful coexistence. There have not been any serious border disputes or outstanding irritants between the two so far. Nepal has strictly adhered to the ‘One-China’ policy and has made genuine efforts to ensure that Nepalese territory does not become a haven for those intent on causing harm to China. Nepal is now a signatory to the Belt and Road Initiative. Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his visit to Kathmandu last year, had reaffirmed Beijing’s strong commitment to respect Nepal’s sovereignty and provide support in its path to development.

If the investigation affirms illegal construction by China in Nepal’s territory, it would be appalling and contrary to the core principles that have defined bilateral relations between the two countries since ancient times. The difficult geographical terrain and remoteness at the northern borders might make it difficult for Nepal to monitor its frontiers. That, however, should not be exploited by China under any pretext.

Any level of intrusion infringes on Nepal’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. These inviolable realms for any state are sacrosanct. Whether the Chinese side has done it brazenly or stealthily, encroachment of Nepalese territory will be unacceptable and intolerable to Nepal.

Therefore, both governments must immediately look into the issue with utmost sincerity and sensitivity before it flares up and sours the bilateral relations. This matter needs to be resolved diplomatically in an amicable manner at the earliest. Allowing this issue to fester will only serve to dampen Nepal-China relations.

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