Even as the ongoing border stand-off with India continues, China has now triggered a new border row with Nepal after allegedly constructing structures in a disputed territory, Hindustan Times reported.
China has built at least 11 buildings in the remote border district of Humla, a territory Nepal claims as its own.
According to officials quoted in Nepalese media reports, there used to be only one hut in the area in 2005 and now Chinese side has constructed cemented buildings. The officials visited the region recently.
"The Chinese side claimed that the area where the houses are built falls within the Chinese territory,"said Bishnu Bahadur Lama, chair of Namkha Rural Municipality after visiting the area on Sunday (20 September).
The area that Nepal is claiming, is remote from the district headquarters, difficult to reach, barren, unused and a treacherous one but the Chinese side can easily cross the border due to the close proximity and road access.
“They (Chinese) told us that due to Covid pandemic, it was not possible to sit in a face to face talks urging that those 11 buildings were constructed inside Chinese territory and asked us to leave the place. Then we left. It is happening largely due to one missing pillar,” Lama said.
According to Lama and other Nepali officials, during the road construction in that area some eight years ago, a boundary pillar no 11 was damaged and had not been erected since.
After we failed to ascertain the pillar no 11, the Chinese built the buildings whose purpose is not known, Lama said, now Chinese have barred Nepalese of that area from visiting the Lapcha area.
But as per locals, that particular territory belongs to us which has been used by the Nepalese for several purposes in the past, Lama said, it was basically used for grazing by both sides.
The Ministries of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs of Nepal in Kathmandu are waiting the ground report from Humla before taking up the matter with the Chinese side.
After the Nepal media started reporting about the alleged Chinese encroachment, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu on Tuesday issued a statement and clarified its position.
China and Nepal are friendly neighbours, the statement said, China has always respected Nepal’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“The buildings mentioned by the media have been verified to be on the Chinese side of the China-Nepal border. The Nepali side may make verification again. China and Nepal have no territorial disputes. The two sides have always maintained close communication on border affairs,” the statement further reads.
Nepal and China do not have major boundary dispute except for their differences over the height of Mt. Everest. Since China came up with rock height of Mt Everest as 8,844 metre in 2005 and recognised it, Nepal declined to accept it. The accepted height of Mt Everest is 8,848 metre. Both Nepal and China are separately measuring the height of Mt Everest and the findings are yet to be announced.
(With inputs from IANS)
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