China playing foul in opening Rasuwagadhi checkpoint; Is it imposing ‘undeclared’ blockade on Nepal?


September 24, 2020


China playing foul in opening Rasuwagadhi checkpoint; Is it imposing ‘undeclared’ blockade on Nepal?

Nepal-China border checkpoint, Kerung (File photo)

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KATHMANDU: While India has been allowing goods-loaded trucks to enter Nepal, China has shown reluctance to open the Rasuwagadhi checkpoint citing the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, Nepali entrepreneurs are losing billions of rupees.

However, it allowed a container carrying medical supplies on Wednesday, and has said it would allow five containers to enter Nepal from Thursday, which means that it will take at least six months for all the 1,000 trucks to enter Nepal.

“This shows that China is trying to impose undeclared blockade in Nepal,” a trader, whose goods have been at the checkpoint told Khabarhub insisting anonymity.

He queried as why is the Chinese side not allowing trucks to enter when India has not barred commodities from entering Nepal?

The Rasuwagadhi checkpoint has been closed since the last week of December, 2019.

It resumed after four months and remained shut again due to which good have been stuck at Kerung since the last 10 months.

Nepali entrepreneurs term China’s reluctance to open the entry points as “unfortunate” at a time when great festivals like Dashain, Tihar and Chhat are approaching.

This means that CHina is trying to create unwarranted pressure on Nepal, observers say.

According to Nepali traders, the Chinese side has stopped as many as 1,000 containers loaded with readymade garments, seeds, fruits, cosmetics, telecommunication equipment, among others, on the border.

China has not allowed containers to enter Nepal at a time when India has been flexible enough to allow entry of Nepali trucks.

India, in the other hand, has allowed truck to enter Nepal despite the impact of coronavirus.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali, meanwhile, said that the situation at the Rasuwagadhi Kerung entry point would gradually become normal from next week.

Meanwhile, according to Naresh Katuwal, Chairman of Nepal National Entrepreneurs’ Federation, the goods have also been stuck at Kerung since the last 10 months.

“Our goods have been stuck at Kerung. They had arrived at Kerung in January. The China government decided to block Nepal-China checkpoints citing the coronavirus pandemic. We have not been able to bring our goods since the last 10 months,” said Katuwal.

Entrepreneurs have been putting all their efforts to bring the goods but the government is not paying its attention to it, he added.

Likewise, container vans loaded with 1.1 million auto disposable syringes used for BCG vaccination have been stuck on the Nepal-China border after China blocked Rasuwagadhi, Kerung and Tatopani checkpoints.

Three Nepal-China checkpoints had been blocked during the lockdown period after the coronavirus took a toll on Wuhan City of China in last December.

Only 20 container vans loaded with goods including health materials (PCR machines, VTM kits, PPEs, masks, sanitizers( had entered  Nepal via Tatopani checkpoint after the border point was opened in agreement between the two countries.

Tatapani border point which resumed by the second week of June again remained shut due to the landslide since July 9.

The China government has decided not to open the border point saying that Tso Lake on the China side is likely to burst.

As many as 27 associations led by the Federation have urged the government to create environment conducive for them to bring the stranded goods.

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