New Delhi: It has been officially confirmed that China has occupied Nepal’s territory and constructed buildings in the Limi region of Humla district, which is situated less than 70 km from Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.

On 5 October, a 19-member fact finding team comprising Nepalese politicians and officials, who had gone to Limi to verify the news about Chinese encroachment, found that the Chinese had constructed buildings in the area and had reconstructed border pillar numbers 11, 12 without seeking any permission from Nepal, official sources privy to the development have told The Sunday Guardian.

Nepal was forced to constitute the fact finding mission after reports in local newspapers and local outrage revealed that the Chinese had intruded into Nepal’s territory and occupied it. In the last week of August, the Nepal government got active and asked for a ground report from the Assistant Chief District Officer of Humla, seeking the details of the encroachment. After the report was submitted, the fact finding team went to the region.

With news spreading about Chinese encroachment, protests have started at Kathmandu. Political parties and common men protested in front of the Chinese embassy on 28 September. The Sunday Guardian had earlier reported about the salami-slicing technique that China had used to occupy Nepal’s territory (How China salami-sliced an entire Nepal village, 27 June).

The Nepal government, which does not want to annoy the Chinese government, is now under pressure from the opposition parties to send a team of experts so that the level of Chinese encroachment is ascertained through the use of GPS and strip mapping. However, Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, who is widely seen as pro-Chinese, is still considering how to resolve the issue as once the encroachment is documented through scientific means, then he will have no option but to present it to the Chinese government and seek the return of the encroached territory, which China is claiming as its own. “The Chinese, history has shown, are unlikely to let go of the Nepalese territory, something which Oli also understands. This explains the government’s inaction in dealing with this issue, which has been in the media since May-June. Oli does not want to confront the Chinese for reasons best known to him,” a government official said.