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Nepal: Closure of Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border pushes local traders to edge of bankruptcy

Kathmandu: The closure of the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border point has pushed the local traders in Nepal to the edge of bankruptcy as the border is one of the key trade routes between Nepal and China and has been closed for more than 34 months now.

Earlier the border was completely closed for more than two years at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, when the world lifted restrictions, the closure of the Rasuwagadhi border continued due to poor infrastructure on the Nepali side and frequent landslides which restricted the border to work to its full potential, the Kathmandu Post reported. The border crossing has been closed for a while despite repeated pledges from Beijing and Kathmandu authorities to reopen it.

Initially, China closed its border in early 2020 because of heavy snowfall and the Lhosar festival. However, Covid-19, which originated in Wuhan of China compelled countries sharing their borders with the country to close them and impose lockdown measures to prevent the spread of disease, according to the Kathmandu Post.

The local traders complained about the road connecting Rasuwagadhi to Kathmandu for being in dilapidated condition for years as the traders who have invested heavily by taking millions in loans have been facing hardships in continuing their business.

"If the situation remains the same, we will have no other option but to scrap our business and leave for foreign employment," said Sanjeev Amatya, a local trader.

"Rasuwagadhi custom point has been an important agenda of candidates, however, they have not been able to address the issues of local traders," Amatya added, reported the Kathmandu Post.

For Beijing, continuity of leadership in Kathmandu could also benefit the CCP's geopolitical standing. Deepening ties between Nepal and China have already led to a strong display of solidarity at the United Nations; in 2021, Nepal joined other South Asian countries in commending China's approach in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, where it has faced criticism for human rights violations.

And any hope of a free Tibet would be quashed if the CCP is able to sandwich the region between two like-minded governments in Beijing and Kathmandu, said Andreopoulos.

In 2019, Nepal endorsed the CCP's position on Taiwan--but that was under the leadership of pro-China former Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli. If Beijing manages to push for a united leftist party to take power in Kathmandu, it would both boost economic ties between the countries and consolidate China's global reputation in the event of a war with Taiwan, reported Foreign Policy. (ANI)

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