Beijing: Nepal can be a bridge between China and India, President Xi Jinping said on Monday and asserted that it is in the common interest of the "two big neighbours" that Nepal enjoys stability and development.
"Nepal can be a bridge between China and India," Xi told visiting Prime Minister K P Oli when the Nepalese leader called on him here after a landmark transit agreement was signed between the two countries that will reduce Nepal's dependence on India for supplies.
On his maiden visit to China close on the heels of his recent visit to India, Oli held wide-ranging talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and called on President Xi.
Talking about the trilateral China-Nepal-India relationship, Xi said he hopes Nepal will benefit from development in China and India.
It is in the common interest of the "two big neighbours" that Nepal enjoys stability and development, he was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Xi said both Nepal and China should carry forward the traditional friendship and expand practical cooperation to make the two nations a "community of common destiny".
He said China and Nepal are close neighbours that enjoy permanent friendship and comprehensive cooperation. Xi stressed the significance of the 'Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence' they uphold.
"As developing countries, China and Nepal are facing the historic missions of reform and development," Xi said.
He hoped that Nepal will join China's Belt and Road (Silk Road) initiative.
Xi called for more efforts to speed up the establishment of a China-Nepal free trade area and boost cooperation on connectivity, energy, post-earthquake reconstruction and industrial capacity.
The two sides should elevate tourism, educational and cultural cooperation and increase youth and media exchanges to further cement their friendship, Xi said.
The Chinese President called on the two sides to use new platforms like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to expand cooperation.
Nepal will actively participate in the Belt and Road construction and looks forward to closer cooperation with China on trade, finance, connectivity, infrastructure and tourism as well as in international affairs, Oli said.