China on 3 November dismissed a media report which said it had seized territory from Nepal as “completely unfounded” and “pure rumour”.
The foreign ministry’s spokesperson Wang Wenbin was reacting to a report in the Daily Telegraph published on 3 November that quoted Nepalese politicians as saying that Beijing had surreptitiously annexed more than 150 hectares on the Nepal-Tibet border, on the Nepalese side.
“I want to point out that the report is completely unfounded rumour,” Wang said when asked to comment on the news report.
The report “is not based on fact. It is a pure rumour,” Wang repeated when he was pressed further for a response.
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,” the nationalist tabloid Global Times had said in a report on 16 October.
The report had blamed India for “hyping” the incident and accused the Nepalese opposition of making the allegations at the behest of New Delhi.
“The main opposition Nepalese Congress, which has been hyping the incident, is considered as a pro-India force,” the Global Times report said.
It then went to refer to the issue of India-Nepal territorial dispute.
“India actually has a long-running territorial dispute with Nepal. The Indian government included a disputed area with Nepal to its new territory map in 2019, triggering conflicts between the two countries. In response, Nepal published a new map, which included Kalapani and other areas into its territory,” the report added.
According to the news report, Chinese troops crossed the border into the Limi Valley and Hilsa in the north-western district of Humla. They moved stone pillars that had been erected earlier to demarcate the border between the two countries. Subsequently, the PLA has allegedly constructed military structures on the encroached territory, the news report added. Chinese personnel also allegedly moved the pillars further into Nepalese territory in Gorkha district.
The report suggests that additional encroachment has occurred in the Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk and Sankuwasabha districts, after the Chinese in Tibet Autonomous Region diverted the flow of rivers acting as a natural boundary to claim previously submerged Nepalese territory.
Neither Kathmandu nor Beijing responded to requests for comment raised by the publication. During a senior Communist Party meeting on Tibet’s future governance, Chinese President Xi Jinping had recently lauded achievements and praised frontline officials but said more efforts were needed to enrich, rejuvenate and strengthen unity in the region.