August 28, 2006

Tibet: China to Extend New Railway to China-Nepal Border

China assured Nepal that it will extend the newly-built Qinghai-Tibet railway to the Sino-Nepalese border for enhancing trade and economic exchanges China on assured Nepal that it will extend the newly-built Qinghai-Tibet railway to the Sino-Nepalese border for enhancing trade and economic exchanges.

"Tibet is a remote place that is looking forward to being connected to South Asia. The railway extension will promote business," chairman of the government of the Tibet autonomous region, Qiangba Puncog assured visiting Nepali Deputy Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli in Lhasa, Tibet`s capital.

Oli, who is also Foreign Minister, arrived in Lhasa yesterday on a eight-day official visit to China, said Nepal hopes China can extend the railway to the border.

China and Nepal have more than 1,400 km of border and five open border crossings. Nyalam, in Xigaze Prefecture, is the only border crossing that boasts a highway. The Xigaze Prefecture borders India, Nepal and Bhutan in the south.

According to current plans, a branch line will be built next year from Lhasa to Xigaze, the region`s second largest city located at an altitude of about 3,800 meters and some 270 km from Lhasa. The project is expected to take three years, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Qinghai-Tibet railway, the world`s highest, stretches 1,956 kms from Xining, capital of Qinghai province, to Lhasa, started operating from July 1.

The city of Xigaze is the traditional seat of the Panchen lama, Tibet`s third highest Buddhist leader, and the Prefecture is also an important production base for Tibetan agriculture and animal husbandry.

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