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Pillar number 11 along Nepal-China border in Humla, which was said to be missing, has been found

REPORT-3-ENG-25-09-2020-Nepal

Pillar number 11 along the Nepal-China border in Humla district, which was said to have been missing, has been found.

According to Bishnu Bahadur Lama, chief of Namkha Rural Municipality, an inspection team, led by Humla Chief District Officer Chiranjibi Giri, “found” pillar number 11 on Wednesday.

“The pillar was found in Ward No. 6 of the rural municipality in Takule,” said Lama. “It was buried under snow and rubble.”

The “missing” border pillar had created a row between Nepal and China, after reports that the Chinese side built some infrastructure–as many as 11 buildings–in an area which both sides claim as their territory.

“The pillar [that has been found] will now make it easier [for us] to draw the line to figure out whether the area where the Chinese structures have been built falls within Nepal or China,” said Lama.

On the Nepali side of the pillar is engraved 2019 which denotes Nepali year in Bikram Sambat, and 1962, which denotes the year as per the Gregorian calendar, on the Chinese side.

The “number 11” number refers to the count of the pillar on the Nepal-China border starting from the west.

Senior officials at the Ministry of Land Reform and Management told the Post on Tuesday that failure to conduct regular inspection on a regular basis often leads to confusion.

“A detailed boundary inspection has not happened along the northern border since 2005,” said an official at the ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity. “A similar kind of dispute had surfaced some five years back regarding pillar no 12, but it was later sorted out.”

Such an inspection usually happens every 10 years.

In an email response, the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu on Tuesday told the Post that the embassy was aware of news reports suggesting China had built some structures on the Nepali side.

“The buildings that are mentioned by the media are in the Chinese side. Nepali side can check it again [sic],” said Zang Si, spokesperson for the embassy. “If Nepali side have any questions, we can check together [sic],” said Zhang. “I want to emphasize that there are no border dispute between China and Nepal, any border issues can be solved through friendly negotiation [sic].”

On Wednesday, issuing a press statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said its attention had been drawn to media reports about the alleged construction of buildings by China within Nepali territory between Nepal-China boundary pillars number 11 and 12 in Humla district.

“The Department of Survey, government of Nepal, based on the official records, reports of the joint field inspection and boundary maps, has verified and confirmed that the said buildings are not located within the Nepali territory,” said the ministry. “The boundary between Nepal and China was delineated and demarcated based on the Boundary Treaty and Boundary Protocols signed between the two countries. Nepal and China have always maintained close communication on border matters.”

The ministry said that the buildings in question were reported by some media back in 2016 and that an inter-ministerial team after the field inspection had concluded that the said buildings were located approximately one kilometre inside the Chinese territory from the Nepal-China border.