INTERNATIONAL DESK: The visiting delegation of the CPN-UML raised the map issue with the leaders of the Communist Party of China during a meeting in Beijing on Monday.
A high-level UML delegation led by the party’s General Secretary Shankar Pokhrel met with several CPC leaders as part of the exchange programme between the two Communist parties.
“China should support Nepal’s new map [unveiled in May 2020],” Rajesh Rai, who is also a part of the visiting delegation, quoted Pokhrel as saying during the meeting with Chinese leaders.
According Rai, vice-chairman of the UML’s media wing Press Chautari Nepal, issuing a press note said that Pokhrel drew the attention of Liu Jianchao, the head of the International Liaison Department of the CPC, regarding the new map.
On August 28, the Ministry of Natural Resources of China released the new “standard map” of China, ignoring Nepal’s new map. The Chinese move has whipped up a storm in Nepal’s diplomatic and political circles.
Last week, the International Relations and Tourism Committee of the House of Representatives instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take up the matter with the Chinese government so that the international community would acknowledge the new map of Nepal.
“The new map released by China does not show territories like Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura that are inside Nepal’s territory since the 1816 Treaty of Sugauli, which established Nepal’s boundary lines,” Pokhrel reportedly told Liu. In response to the Indian map released in November 2019, the then KP Sharma Oli-led government had released a new map, which was unanimously ratified by Parliament in May 2020.
After the issuance of the new map, the Oli government briefed the Kathmandu-based diplomatic community but did not make a formal request with them to use the new map for official communication purposes. But then foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali claimed that the Oli government had communicated to the diplomatic community, including China, about the new map. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister NP Saud publicly told the House committee last week that no record of such correspondence with China was found.
“I received no such correspondence from the South Asia and North East division of the ministry,” the foreign minister said in the House committee. “I will be happy if there is any information about any such correspondence.”
After the Supreme Court ordered Oli’s replacement by Sher Bahadur Deuba as prime minister in July 2021, there have been two governments. Saud is a minister in the current coalition government led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal. As per the foreign ministry’s records, no official or formal communication was made with any country regarding the use of the new map of Nepal for official communication purposes.
“Nepal faced pressure and constraints at the time of issuing the new map. We want support from the Chinese government and Chinese Communist Party as well on this issue,” Rai quoted Pokhrel as saying. CPN-UML General Secretary Pokhrel on behalf of his party reiterated Nepal’s commitment to the One-China policy and said that they won’t allow any activities against China in Nepali land.
On September 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement after the map row. “Nepal stands firm and clear on its political and administrative map that was unanimously approved by the Parliament of Nepal in 2020,” said the foreign ministry. “The government of Nepal unequivocally believes that this map must be respected by our neighbours as well as the international community. Nepal remains committed to resolving the boundary matters through dialogues and diplomacy.”
During the meeting between the UML and CPC leaders, Pokhrel stated that Nepal believes in the principle of non-alignment and Panchsheel (five principles of peaceful coexistence), and it will conduct its foreign policy, international relations, and cooperation, accordingly. Pokhrel and Liu also discussed how to implement the past agreements and accords signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping visit to Nepal in 2019 and Oli’s visit to China in 2018. Liu applauded the “excellent relations” between the CPC and UML and that the Chinese side wanted to take it to a new height.
“There are some elements who do not want good relations between Nepal and China,” Liu reportedly told the UML’s visiting delegation. “We are committed to implementing the agreements reached during the visit of President Xi to Nepal and Oli to China. We are trying our best to take forward those agreements for implementation.”
Pokhrel said that UML is aiming to gain a majority in the next general elections to be held in 2027 and form a stable government. He also informed the CPC delegation about the UML’s nationwide “grassroots campaign” saying that the campaign had infused new vigour and enthusiasm in the party rank and file, according to the statement released by Rai. (TKP)