KATHMANDU: President Xi Jinping warned on Sunday that anyone attempting to split China will be "crushed" as he held wide-ranging talks with Nepal's top leadership here and the two countries elevated their bilateral ties to strategic partnership and signed a slew of agreements, including a plan to build a trans-Himalayan railway line.
During his meeting with Nepalese counterpart Bidya Devi Bhandari on Saturday, President Xi announced a support of 3.5 billion RMB equivalent to Nepalese Rs 56 billion to Nepal over the next two years to help the development programmes, officials said.
Xi, the first Chinese president to visit Nepal in 23 years, also pledged to upgrade the Arniko Highway linking Kathmandu with Tatopani transit point - which was shut down following the devastating earthquake of 2015 - and open more customs points facilitating connectivity.
He said a feasibility study of trans-Himalayan railway will soon start and China will also support construction of the Kerung-Kathmandu tunnel road.
During his meeting with Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oil on Sunday, Xi said that "anyone attempting to split China will be crushed and any external force backing such attempts will be deemed by the Chinese people as pipe-dreaming," China's official Xinhua news agency reported.
Xi's comments came as Beijing is putting pressure on Kathmandu to rein-in pro-Dalai Lama Tibetans in Nepal.
Nepal shares a long border with Tibet and is home to around 20,000 Tibetan exiles.
Every year some 2,500 Tibetans illegally enter Nepal crossing Tibetan border on their way to Dharamshala to meet the 84-year-old Dalai Lama.
Beijing views the India-based Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, as a separatist trying to split the Himalayan region from China.
Oli said Nepal firmly supports China in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity and stands firm in upholding the one-China policy.
Nepal, added Oli, will never allow any force to use its territory for separatist activities against China, the Xinhua report said.
Xi stressed that his country appreciates Nepal for its firm adherence to the one-China policy and its staunch support for China on issues concerning China's core interests.
Calling Nepal and China true friends and partners, Oli said the two countries have always respected each other, supported each other and never interfered in the internal affairs of the other, adding that their traditional friendship is unbreakable.
In a joint statement, the two countries said they have decided to elevate their bilateral ties to strategic partnership of cooperation and two sides agreed to respect each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and respect and accommodate each other's concerns and core interests.
The statement said that Nepal and China take the Belt and Road Initiative, a pet project of President Xi, as an important opportunity to deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation in all fields in a comprehensive manner.