September 15: China has expressed its readiness to reopen its border with Nepal. High-ranking Chinese officials during their official visit to Nepal said that they are ready to resolve the issues related to the import of goods to Nepal from China which is currently suspended due to lockdown in Tibet after the outbreak of coronavirus.
As a result, Nepal-bound goods are stuck across the Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi border points.
Chief of the Chinese People's Congress, Li Zhanshu, who is on a visit to Nepal said in a courtesy meeting with President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Wednesday that the checkpoints will be operational immediately.
According to a source at the President's Office, Chinese leader Li spoke with Chinese officials who are looking at the trade sector before meeting with President Bhandari and said that the border crossings will be opened soon.
A senior official of the President's Office, quoting Chinese leader Li said, "Before coming here, I spoke with the Chinese official who oversees the business sector. After this message reached our President Xi Jinping, I can now tell the President that the border crossing will be operational immediately."
Nepalese businessmen are facing problems due to the obstruction in both the major border crossings between Nepal and China. They have been urging the Nepalese government to take initiative to reopen these checkpoints.
China had sealed the Rasuwagadhi border from August 6 and Tatopani border from August 10 due to the increase in the number of Covid-19 infections in Tibet. China-Nepal trade by land has been affected for the last three years due to China adopting strict measures to control Covid-19.
According to the Nepal Trans Himalaya Border Commerce Association (NTHBCA), 400 containers carrying goods worth about Rs 5 billion are currently stuck along the road across the border.
The owner of New Sugam Enterprises and general secretary of the association, Bharat Karki informed that currently, 350 to 400 containers are stopped at Kerung and Khasa. His company imports goods from China. There are festive goods in the Nepal-bound containers.
“China has not allowed the containers carrying clothes, shoes, Chinese walnuts to enter Nepal,” said Karki. Businessmen are under a lot of stress due to the closure of the border. Businessmen have been asking for diplomatic initiatives for a long time.
The delegation led by Li is all set to wrap up a four-day visit to Nepal and return back today (September 15).