China today said Nepal should not become a "boxing arena" for India and China and urged New Delhi to treat Kathmandu as an equal partner.
Top diplomats of China and Nepal met here and discussed plans to open more border points for transit trade, a permanent arrangement for petroleum supplies from China and a transit treaty to enable Nepal to access Chinese ports for travel and trade to reduce dependence on India.
"China has all along believed that countries irrespective of their size are equal. China and Nepal have always treated each other sincerely and as equals. We hope that the same policy and practices will also be adopted by India," Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told a news conference, with Nepalese counterpart Kamal Thapa seated beside.
"A stable Nepal enjoying development fully serves the interests of both China and India. So in other words, I would like to say that Nepal is a great place for mutually beneficial cooperation between China and India, not a boxing arena for China and India," Wang added.
The Chinese foreign minister made the remarks while answering a question on alleged competition between India and China for influence over the Himalayan country.
"China, India and Nepal are close neighbours connected by the same mountains and rivers. This makes the three of us a natural community with shared interests. This is why China has proposed the development of a China-India-Nepal Economic Corridor. It is all about common development and prosperity. The ultimate goal is to form a community of shared future of the three of us," he said.
Both Wang and Thapa avoided any references to the Madhesi agitation, while praising the new constitution that has led to a major internal political crisis in Nepal.
On India-Nepal relations, Thapa said "immediately after the promulgation of the constitution, there has been some misunderstanding between Nepal and India because of the India-imposed unofficial obstruction on transit and supply of fuel and other essential commodities".
He was referring to the transport blockade that Nepal alleged had been imposed by India but which has been strongly refuted by New Delhi.
"But I am very happy to say at this point of time that things are moving and improving," Thapa added.
The Telegraph, December 26, 2015