by Xinhua writers Zhang Ning, Zhou Shengping
KATHMANDU, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi has said that China and Nepal should join hands to boost the construction of an interconnectivity network across the Himalayas.
Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Nepal, the ambassador told Xinhua in a written interview that both countries view interconnectivity as a key part of bilateral cooperation.
"The two countries have been seeing great achievements in projects of railways, highways, aviation, ports and communication," said the ambassador.
She said since the establishment of their diplomatic relations 64 years ago, China and Nepal have conducted close exchanges at all levels, continuously deepened political mutual trust, and promoted the comprehensive cooperative partnership with ever-lasting friendship between the two countries.
"Since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2017, the development of bilateral ties has ushered in a new stage," the ambassador said, adding that she believes Xi's visit will create fresh momentum to boost the relations.
China has become Nepal's largest source of foreign direct investment and second largest trading partner, as bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached 1.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, according to the Chinese ambassador.
After Nepal was hit by an earthquake in 2015, China provided assistance, including funds and goods, for the country, sending numerous rescue and medical teams to the affected areas, said the ambassador.
Hou said people-to-people exchanges have also been enhanced between the two countries, as China has become Nepal's second largest source of tourists.
Cultural events, including Chinese language competitions and Spring Festival celebrations, have received enthusiastic responses across the nation, she said.
"Cultural and people-to-people exchanges will help cement the basis for bilateral relations," said the Chinese ambassador.