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China unhappy over Tibetan refugees issue: Nepal

Written by: Staff

Kathmandu, Jul 4: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs K P Sharma Oli has said that China has taken up seriouly with the Nepal government the matter of vulnerable Tibetan refugees currently in Nepal being resettled in the United States, media reports said here today.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing raised concerns over the issue during a meeting with Mr Oli in Geneva recently.

China has accused Nepal of issuing refugee identification cards to ''illegal migrants'', Mr Oli said.

''The Chinese Government has taken the matter seriously, and this is a very serious issue in Nepal-China relations,'' Mr Oli was quoted by the Kathmandu Post as saying.

About 20,000 Tibetan refugees live in Nepal, out of which America wants around 5,000 to be resttled in the US.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister, Wu Daewi, will be coming to Nepal for a three-day visit on July 27 to lodge official complaint with the Nepal government.

''This is the major agenda of the Vice-Foreign Minister,'' Mr Oli said.

He said the government was issuing refugee identification cards to both Bhutanese and Tibetan refugees only on humanitarian grounds and to maintain uniformity in Nepal's policy on refugees so that they can travel outside Nepal for medical treatment, education and reunion with their family members.

''It is not for unleashing an anti China movement and cards are not given for political purposes,'' Mr Oli said.

''We officially uphold the 'One-China' policy. We don't let any anti-China activity to take place in Nepal and I can say for sure that such activities haven't taken place, '' he added.

The government hasn't allowed the opening of the office of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, which was closed by Nepal in early 2005, he said.


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