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Is China unilaterally fencing a disputed area along its border with Nepal?

The Rashuwagadhi-Kerung point on the Nepal-China border

Amid media reports on China’s encroachment of Nepali territories, Nepal and China have agreed to jointly inspect their 1414-km border, a government spokesperson said here.

Sewa Lamshal, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, said that the two sides agreed to deploy a joint team in the bordering areas during a 'consultation meeting on border affairs' between the Nepali and Chinese foreign ministries which took place last week virtually.

"The consultation meeting on border affairs was long due. Various matters relating to boundary and border management were discussed. It has been agreed that the joint inspection will begin soon, where the two sides will see many aspects related to boundary matters including the status of border pillars," the spokesperson told a media briefing on Wednesday. She did not share specific dates about when the two sides begin the joint inspection.

According to spokesperson Lamshal, the two sides were agreed to initiate the process for activating the existing bilateral mechanisms through mutual consultation.

The consultation meeting, which was not held since 2011, is one of the key boundary mechanisms between the two countries that is mandated to discuss matters relating to boundary and border management.

The meeting comes a week after Nepal's Annapurna Post daily newspaper reported that the Chinese side erected a fence at the Ruila border point of Chumanubri Rural Municipality-1 in Gorkha district without coordinating with the Nepali side.

Earlier in February, the BBC ran an in-depth news story based on the Nepali government's investigation report which accused China of encroaching into Nepal along the two countries' shared border.

The report was commissioned in September 2021 following claims that China has been trespassing in the district of Humla, in the far west of Nepal, according to the BBC.

The report had recommended Nepali security personnel be stationed in the area to guarantee security.

According to the BBC, the report also suggested Nepal and China should reactivate a dormant mechanism set up to resolve these kinds of border issues.

Following the news report, Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, however, categorically denied that there has been any encroachment of Nepal territories. The embassy, in its statement in February this year, said that the two countries had resolved the boundary issue through friendly consultations as early as the 1960.

Leaked report accuses China of encroaching along Nepal border | Latest World English News | WION – YouTube

Nepal and China share the regulated border which has seen very little traffic and trade after the northern neighbour enforced various COVID-19 restrictions since December 2020.

During the recent consultation meeting on border affairs, the two sides, however, agreed to resume two-way traffic at the Rashuwagadhi-Kerung border point which remained largely closed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also Read: Senior Chinese official arrives in Nepal to unify Communist factions ahead of elections