Asia |Analysis

China-Nepal railway project gains momentum after party congress

China and Nepal have had several rounds of talks, both formal and informal, about possible cross-border railway connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Until recently, the talks had made little headway.

In May, at a bilateral meeting in Beijing, Chinese Vice-premier Wang Yang had told Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara that China would provide financial support for the construction of the cross-border railway link. After that, both sides had even designated focal persons for expediting the process to kick-start the project, according to

There were further meetings between China and Nepal in September – when Mahara of Nepal had a bilateral delegation-level meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi while visiting Beijing.

Both sides reiterated their commitment to agreements on developing cross-border economic and transport links, according to the South China Morning Post.  But there didn’t appear to be concrete steps taken toward establishing a cross-border railway link between the neighbors.

Then China held the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party, where the country amended the constitution to incorporate Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative.” The initiative is a massive infrastructure project aimed at connecting China with Asia and Europe.

Soon after, there was movement. A high-level Chinese delegation led by the Deputy Administrator of the National Railway Administration Zheng Jian arrived in Nepal in early November to carry out the inspection on technical viability of the railway, according to the Kathmandu Post.

It reported that the 23-member delegation – which included officials from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Transport, members of National Commission, representatives of banks and contractors – visited Kathmandu and areas along the China-Nepal border.

China’s National Railway Administration told officials in Nepal that Beijing has made developing the cross-border railway a high priority, according to Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency.  However, Xinhua reported that Chinese officials acknowledged the project will be challenging.

Still, the developments hint that the Belt and Road Initiative has gathered new momentum after the Communist Party Congress. It could indicate that China is likely increase its engagement with nearby countries to move the initiative into the implementation phase in the next five years.


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Talk (5)

Sangeet Sangroula

"Thanks Cassandra. I feel like I can l..."

Sangeet Sangroula

"Sure. I will try my best."

Cassandra Vinograd

"Thank *you* for submitting the piece!..."

Sangeet Sangroula

"Thank you so much. I feel like I can ..."


He is a Nepali journalist attached with Republica Daily, Nepal. Interested in Asian affairs, particularly South Asian. Twitter: @SangeetJourno Email: [email protected]

History for Story "China-Nepal railway project gains momentum after party congress"

  1. Cassandra Vinograd adds detail on may meeting
  2. Sangeet Sangroula
  3. Sangeet Sangroula
  4. Cassandra Vinograd shortens summary
  5. Cassandra Vinograd minor edits, cuts opinion grafs at bottom
  6. Cassandra Vinograd inserts link to attribute China congress incorporating B&R initiative
  7. Cassandra Vinograd adds links to statement on Mahara/Wang meeting
  8. Sangeet Sangroula

China-Nepal railway project gains momentum after party congress

Talk about this Story

  1. Rewrite

    Thanks for this story. Think it could be made stronger if you’re able to go back in and add some links to reinforce the arguments you’re making — particularly about how the project appeared to be stalled.

    Same for these two paragraphs below — they read a bit like an “Opinion” piece or Op-Ed without attribution, links or quotes. Have cut the below paragraphs for now.

    “Given this, the only important thing now remains is that the Belt and Road countries like Nepal should also show equal sincerity and eagerness to cease the unprecedented opportunities China-led BRI provides and pave way for common development. Otherwise, it would be yet another story of missed opportunity to better future.

    In case of Nepal, the Chinese side has agreed in principle to provide technical as well as financial support to Nepal for the construction of a cross-border railway link that would link Kyirong, Tibet with Kathmandu, Pokhara and Lumbini (three cities of Nepal). The Nepali government should officially move forward the project, which Nepali Foreign Ministry officials say, will spread the positive message and encourage Chinese authorities to expedite the project.”

    1. Rewrite

      Thank you so much. I feel like I can learn so many things from here. I shall work hard next time. Now I have a little bit of idea. I shall put your suggestions into consideration. Please keep sending useful advises. Thanks. Really appreciate your editing.

      1. Rewrite

        Thank *you* for submitting the piece! If you add more links, etc we’ll be able to see the updates and publish them live.

          1. Rewrite

            Thanks Cassandra. I feel like I can learn what news writing is my contributing to Wikitribune.

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