Kalapani issue is between Nepal and India, says Chinese Foreign MinistryThe statement comes amid political leaders calling on the Nepal government to speak to Beijing regarding India’s building of a new link road on Nepali territory.
Amid the government’s attempts to talk to Beijing regarding India’s opening of a road that links India with Mansarovar in the Tibet Autonomous Region via Lipulekh, China has said that the issue is between Nepal and India.
“The issue of Kalapani is between Nepal and India. We hope the two countries will resolve their differences properly through friendly consultations and refrain from taking any unilateral action that may complicate the situation,” said Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in response to a question at a regular press briefing.
Although Zhao referred to Kalapani, the current dispute regards Lipulekh, a pass that is close to Kalapani. Nepal and India have once again been embroiled in a boundary dispute after New Delhi opened a new access road via Lipulekh, a territory that Nepal claims, to Mansarovar on May 8. As part of diplomatic measures aimed at protesting the Indian encroachment, political leaders have been calling on the government to speak to both India and China on the issue.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli informed Parliament that talks were ongoing with China to resolve the boundary dispute at Lipulekh pass.
“Our government representatives have spoken with Chinese authorities,” Oli said before Parliament on Tuesday. “The Chinese authorities have said that the India-China agreement was about expanding an old trade route for pilgrimage purposes, and it won’t affect the position of the tri-juncture and issue of borders.”
India started building a new road from Uttarakhand to Mansarovar in Tibet after reaching a bilateral agreement with China in 2015 for the purpose of promoting trade and pilgrimage. Then, Nepal had protested by sending two different diplomatic notes to New Delhi and Beijing saying that building a new road in Lipulekh without its consent was unacceptable.
Thousands of Indian pilgrims visit Mansarover via various routes every year. The new road via Lipulekh will considerably shorten travel times.
Shankar Das Bairagi, the foreign secretary, has already met with Chinese ambassador Hou Yanqui to share Nepal’s position on the issue. China, however, had remained silent on the issue until Tuesday.
On Monday, the Cabinet endorsed a new political map that includes all disputed territories of Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh within Nepali borders.