KATHMANDU, Aug 2: Senior Maoist leaders have said it is high time Nepal and China took the initiative open border between the two countries saying that people to people contacts and businesses between the two countries have suffered due to lack of such facility.
UCPN (Maoist) Standing Committee member Krishna Bahadur Mahara said several border crossing with China in the northern part of Nepal should be opened and people from the two sides should be allowed to move freely through those points.
"Nepal should take the initiative for such concept and China should support it," Mahara, who also heads the party´s department of foreign affairs, said at an interaction organized in Kathmandu by Nepal-China Center on Wednesday.
He was of the view that it had become urgent to take the initiative as people to people contacts between the two sides in the Himalayan region hadn´t increased due to hindrances along the borders despite sharing similar culture and traditions.
Mahara also said Nepal government should take initiative to establish consular offices in some major Chinese cities where trade and business activities with Nepali side has increased significantly in the recent years.
"These measures will help strengthen Nepal-China relations in true sense. This is necessary to end our lopsided relation," he explained.
Vice-Chairman of newly-formed CPN (Maoist), C P Gajurel echoed Mahara saying strong measures to this effect had become urgent to re-establish people-to-people relation between the two countries. "There was a deep-rooted relation at the people´s level between Nepal and China for ages but it has been broken in the recent time," said Gajurel.
While applauding northern neighbor for "always showing generosity toward Nepal", Gajurel said it was Nepal´s weakness for failing to reap the benefits from China´s prosperity.
"We do not have not a single dispute in Nepal-China border nor do we have unequal treaties with the northern neighbor. Conversely, we have at least 50 border disputes with the southern neighbor," Gajurel said.
He said Nepal was not free even to take decision regarding China. "As a sovereign nation, Nepal is not free to open border points in our northern side," he said. He claimed that if more border points were opened with China, Nepal would have access to abundant opportunities. "Nepal will be flooded with tourists if we can attract only five percent of Buddhist tourists visiting Lhasa to Lumbini," he claimed.
Also, CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and Nepali Congress Vice-President Ram Chandra Paudel underscored the need of exploring business opportunities with China to reap the benefits from the northern neighbor´s fast economic growth.