China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin dismissed a media report and accusation from Nepali’s opposition leaders that it has grabbed any land of Nepal. China claimed it to be a “completely unfounded rumor”.
A report in the UK based Daily Telegraph published on Tuesday quoted Nepalese politicians as saying that Beijing had surreptitiously annexed more than 150 hectares on the Nepal-Tibet border, on the Nepalese side.
It was reported earlier also that China had allegedly started slicing into Nepali territory in at least five border districts in May by sending in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in areas that were unguarded.
Reacting to the report, Wang Wenbin said, “I want to point out that the report is a completely unfounded rumor.”
When he was pressed further for a response, he reiterated – “The report is not based on fact. It is a pure rumor!”
In October, Chinese state media had denied similar reports that said China had encroached Nepalese land in the Humla district.
“The buildings that some in Nepal have accused China of encroaching on its land in Humla district falls within Chinese territory and is actually a newly-built village in Burang county in Ali, southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region,” Chinese mouthpiece Global Times reported on October 16.
Nepal’s elected government also denied the claims
“It is not true that China has encroached our land and had constructed buildings there,” said Sewa Lamsal, a spokeswoman for Nepal’s foreign ministry. However, she did not elaborate on it further.
In September, Nepal’s foreign ministry said that when similar claims were aired about the area in 2016, it had found the buildings were located one kilometer (0.6 miles) within Chinese territory.
Nepal’s Opposition Leaders are not ‘Satisfied’
Jeevan Bahadur Shahi, a provincial legislator of the opposition Nepali Congress party, said Chinese troops had crossed the border and built nine concrete structures about one kilometer (0.6 miles) inside Nepal, at Limi in the district of Humla bordering Tibet.
Chinese mouthpiece Global Times has accused India of ‘hyping’ the claims and triggering conflicts between the two nations.
“The main opposition Nepalese Congress, which has been hyping the incident, is considered as a pro-India force.” It also further referred to the issue of the India-Nepal territorial dispute to make India sit on the ‘hot seat’.
All this has come at a time when the world’s two biggest standing armies, India and China are stuck in a standoff in the disputed region of Eastern Ladakh for the past few months.