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Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage hit as China closes Tibet border

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Over 25,000 foreign tourists planning to visit Kailash Mansarovar through Nepal were forced to change their itinerary after the Chinese government shut down all border points in Tibet, media reported on Monday. Officials cited recent earthquakes in the Himalayan nation as the reason for the same.

Media reports said that the Nepali tourism and civil aviation ministry has asked the foreign ministry to raise the issue with the Chinese side. However, the Chinese side has not made any comment over the shutdown. These 25,000 foreigners booked their tours for Kailash Mansarovar through 38 tour and travel companies in Nepal. No tourist has, however, cancelled bookings so far, the Karobar national daily on Monday quoted Kailash Tour Association chief Prakash Shrestha.

Tourism entrepreneurs have demanded that the tour should be allowed by opening the Hilsa point in Humla district. Shrestha says taking 25,000 foreigners to Kailash Mansarovar through Nepal will be a huge relief at a time when the tourism sector has been hard-hit by the recent earthquake. The entrepreneurs have informed the culture, tourism and civil aviation ministries in this regard but there has been no breakthrough so far.

“A total of 25,000 tourists are still ready to come once we give them the time-table,” an entrepreneur said. China has closed border points at Tatopani, Rasuwa and other places stating that there can be landslides and it would be difficult to travel or trek. Shrestha said the entrepreneurs have urged the government to take initiative to allow tourists to visit Kailash Mansarovar by helicopter or on foot from Nepalgunj-Surkhet, the western part of Nepal that was close to the Hindu pilgrimage site.

Indian, Russian, Malaysian and other European tourists have booked the Kailash Mansarovar tour. Around 80 percent of tourists going to this area are Indians — around 40,000 visit Kailash Mansarovar via Nepal every year. The May-July period is considered the main season to visit Kailash Mansarovar. Nepali tourism entrepreneurs make all arrangements for tourists to visit Kailash Mansarovar. Around 80 percent of these tourists remain in Nepal for 7-10 days while the remaining 20 percent stay for 4-7 days. Tourists visiting Kailash Mansarovar spend the most after those coming for mountaineering.

Entrepreneurs claim that over 100,000 people will get employment if these 25,000 tourists were to come to Nepal immediately. “The government must, therefore, facilitate it,” said an entrepreneur.

Tulasi Gautam, director general of the tourism department, said initiative was being taken at the level of the minister. “The road to Tatopani has already been opened. We are trying to bring these 25,000 tourists to Nepal by any means,” he said.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Dalai Lama says that India and China have great potential

The spiritual leader feels that both the countries are doing compassionate works

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Dalai Lama talks about India and China
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai says that India and China can work together. VOA

New Delhi, Nov 19

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have “great potential” and they could work together at a “practical level”.

“I think, a great potential… India and China combined are doing more compassionate work… At a practical level also. Imagine two billion people working together,” he told reporters here after inaugurating Smile Foundation’s initiative, The World of Children.

The spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, said neither country had the “ability to destroy the other”.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side,” he said.

Underlining the ancient spiritual connection between the two countries, he said Chinese Buddhist Hsuan Tsang visited Nalanda (now in Bihar) and brought Nalanda Buddhist traditions to China.

“All thinkers of Nalanda are Indian. So Nalanda’s tradition is India’s tradition,” he said.

The Nalanda traditions had turned Tibetans, who were warriors, into more compassionate, peaceful and non-violent nation, he said.

“So sometimes in Delhi, teasing my Indian friend, (I say) if Tibet still remained in the previous way of life, like Mongols, Chinese invasion may not have taken place,” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said nobody in the world wanted violence but it was happening “because our minds are dominated by destructive emotions due to short-sightedness”.

“Nobody wants problems. Yet, many problems are our own creation.”

The Dalai Lama said the existing modern education was oriented to material values. India can take lead in improving the education system by combining modern education with ancient knowledge, he said. (IANS)

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Donald Trump Planning to meet Putin during his Asia tour

Donald Trump's first trip to Asia is the longest international tour.

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US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. wikimedia commns
  • US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his Asia tour.

“I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah. We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders,” Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One before landing at the Yokota Air Base in Japan, Efe reported.

Putin is scheduled to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, which Trump will also attend as part of his long Asia tour.

The North Korean nuclear threat is expected to dominate Donald Trump’s meetings in Japan and the next two stages of his tour, South Korea and China, where he will have a highly anticipated sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The remainder of the tour will be more focused on economic issues, with Trump scheduled to take part in the APEC meeting in Da Nang and then in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and the East Asia Summit in the Philippines.

Donald Trump’s first trip to Asia is the longest international tour by a US head of state since the one then-President George H.W. Bush embarked on in 1992.

Bush became ill at the end of that trip, famously vomiting on the Japanese prime minister’s lap at a formal dinner before fainting.(IANS)

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‘Dalai Lama is a Political Figure under the cloak of Religion, Meeting or Hosting the Dalai Lama is a major offence’ Warns China

In April this year, China had reacted violently to a visit by the Dalai Lama to Tawang, in India’s northeast border state of Arunachal Pradesh, large parts of which is claimed by Beijing.

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Dalai Lama
The 14th Dalai Lama, Wikimedia

Beijing, October 21, 2017 : As US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prepares to visit India next week, China on Saturday warned that it will be deeply offended if any foreign leader meets with or any country invites the Dalai Lama.

On the sidelines of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, a Chinese Minister dubbed the Tibetan spiritual leader as a “political figure under the cloak of religion”.

“Any country or any organisation or anyone accepting to meet with the Dalai Lama in our view is a major offence to the sentiment of the Chinese people,” said Zhang Yijiong, Executive Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).

“Also, since they have committed to recognising China as a sole legitimate government representing China, it contravenes their attempt, because it is a serious commitment,” Zhang added.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of stoking unrest and secessionist activities in Tibet from where the spiritual leader fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising.

The Dalai Lama has urged for more autonomy for Tibet.

Beijing opposes any country or leader keeping in touch with the Dalai Lama.

“I want to make it clear that the 14th Dalai Lama, the living Buddha handed down by history is a political figure under the cloak of religion,” said Zhang.

In February this year, Tillerson had told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearing that he is committed to promoting dialogue on Tibet and receiving the Dalai Lama.

Top US Democrat Nancy Pelosi had visited the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, in May, and sought to draw the world’s attention to human rights in Tibet, triggering protests by China.

China resorts to different tactics if any country hosts the Dalai Lama. For instance, Beijing blocked a major highway leading to Mongolia, crippling the economy there after Ulan Bator hosted the leader late last year.

Mongolia later apologised and promised Beijing never to invite the Dalai Lama.

“Officials, in their capacity as officials, attending all foreign-related activities represent their governments. So I hope governments around the world speak and act with caution and give full consideration to their friendship with China and their respect for China’s sovereignty,” Zhang added.

The comments from the Chinese Minister also comes days after Tillersoon described India as a partner in a strategic relationship and said the US would “never have the same relationship with China, a non-democratic society”.

According to reports, last month China refused to fund travel for visiting scholars at University of California, San Diego, apparently in retaliation for inviting the Dalai Lama to be its 2017 commencement speaker.

In April this year, China had reacted violently to a visit by the Dalai Lama to Tawang, in India’s northeast border state of Arunachal Pradesh, large parts of which is claimed by Beijing. (IANS)