The year of 2019 will soon draw to an end and in the past year, China’s relations with many countries have witnessed steady progress, including that with the neighbouring Country of Nepal.

Nepalese Ambassador to China Leela Mani Paudyal has recently reviewed the progress made by the two Countries in the development of bilateral ties in 2019 in an interview in Beijing.

According to Paudyal, the bilateral ties between China and Nepal saw significant progress especially after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to his Country in October.

President Xi’s visit to Nepal, the first by a Chinese Head of State in 23 years, has taken bilateral ties to a higher level while opening up multiple avenues for advancing cooperation in the new era.

President Xi’s visit is a historical one, not only because it was a long awaited visit, but also because of the achievement made during the visit, said Paudyal.

“Both countries have agreed to elevate their bilateral relationship to a new high and then they agreed to promote our relationship, the mutually cooperative relationship to strategic cooperative partnership, featuring our ever-lasting friendship, our prosperity and development.

This is what we achieved. After we signed, we integrated into the Belt & Road Initiative Cooperation agreement MOU in 2017. That was a foundation, from that we developed our all-round relationship forward,” said Paudyal.

Nepal pays great attention to developing friendship with China, said Paudyal who also gave some examples to this effect.

“This year, our President of Nepal, Bidhya Devi Bhandari, paid official visit to China, and she attended the second Belt & Road Initiative International Cooperation Forum. That indicates our Nepal gave importance for that forum. The highest political level participation in that forum.

And as President Xi Jinping himself said in his speech in Katmandu that Chinese people love Nepal, and the Nepali people also wholeheartedly welcome Chinese people, they also love Chinese people.

The Government of Nepal has exempted visa fee for the Chinese people and provided online visa application for Chinese people without any fee, without any pay. It is just a friendship for welcoming Chinese people,” said the Ambassador.

As an attractive tourism destination, Nepal will take the year 2020 as “Visit Nepal 2020.” Chinese tourists, who have contributed a great part to Nepal’s tourism income, are surely welcome to visit the south Asian country, according to the Ambassador.

“China is now the second largest source country for tourists and the Nepali government has declared 2020 as a Visit Nepal Year. That’s why I would like to welcome Chinese people to visit Nepal during the Visit Nepal Year 2020.

We want to develop our economy and promote our friendship through tourism. And we also would like to encourage Nepalese people to visit China as tourists. These days, Nepalese people also have that habit of going for vocations out.

And then we would likely to encourage more and more Nepalese people also to visit China. Through that we can promote the people-to-people contact and understandings between the two sides,” said Paudyal.

Nepal and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Belt & Road Initiative in May 2017.

The Belt & Road Initiative, formally known as the initiative on joint construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was brought up by China in 2013, with a view to building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road Trade Routes.