Historical Treaties and Agreements of Nepal and China- Tibet Relationship

Nepal has age old relationship with Tibet and China. Having become strong relation from the time of Amsuvarma, the Thakuri king of the Lichchhavi period, the relationship of Nepal-China-Tibet has becoming stronger in the later years.

Three big wars occurred between Nepal and China-Tibet in 1788, 1791 and 1855 AD. The first war ended with the Treaty of Kerung in Jeth, 1846 BS (June 2,1789 AD),

the second war ended with the Treaty of Betrabati on 6th Bhadau, 1849 BS (1972 AD) and the third war ended with the Treaty of Thapathali in Chait, 1912 BS (26th March, 1856 BS).

Some historical agreements of Nepal and China-Tibet relationship have been given below:

Treaty of Kerung

Nepal-Tibet war ended and talks began only after China had suggested Tibet to end the war through negotiation. Kalon Ghoring, Sakiya Lama, Tesu Lama from the Tibet side and Bom Shah, Harihar Upadhyaya and Narsigh Shahi from the Nepali side were the key persons in the negotiation.

In the discussion held in Kerung, Nepal put forward its demand with Tibet to reimburse the entire expenses made in the war and 50 Dharni (One Dharni is equivalent to 1200 grams) gold as the compensation for breaching the treaty made at the time of Pratap Singh Shah.

But, Tibet repeatedly disagreed with the demand made by Nepal. Finally, the Treaty of Kerung was signed on 2nd June, 1789. Concluded after the discussion for the two months, the treaty known as the Treaty of Kerung have the following points:

1. Nepali force agreed to pull back from the Tibetan territory it had occupied in the war.

2. From now onwards, Nepal shall not attack Tibet.

3. Tibet shall pay a fixed amount of money to Nepal every year.

4. The Trade between Tibet and India is to be done only through the route of Nepal, and the routes through Sikkim and Bhutan connecting the countries are to be closed.

5. Henceforth, while fixing the exchange rate between mixed coin and new coin, two mixed coin shall be equivalent to one new coin.

Treaty of Betrabati

The treaty of Kerung made between Nepal and Tibet had not been getting notable success. The approval from Lhasa Palace and from Chinese Emperor had not been obtained for that treaty.  Tibet
breached the treaty by only paying the first installment of the amount to be made to Nepal as per the treaty. In less than two years time of the Treaty of Kerung made, the war again broke out between
Nepal and Tibet.

In the second war, even China had interfered from Tibetan side. As a result, Nepal needed to fight with China, in the name of Tibet. There occurred a huge loss in Betrabati Axis on October 5, 1792 AD on both the sides. Following the loss, Nepal and China-Tibet signed a treaty. The treaty made on 6th, Bhadau 1849 (August, 1792 AD) is known as the Treaty of Betrabati.

The following conditions had been mentioned in the Treaty of Betrabati:

1. Nepal and Tibet, by abandoning the enmity, will maintain friendly relationships between them.

2. Nepal shall dispatch a delegation team with gift every five Nepal Parichaya/367 years in honor of the Emperor of China. In return, China shall send gifts and bear the expenses of the delegation team and bear transportation facilities.

3. Any sort of dispute erupting between Kathmandu and Lhasa in the future shall be settled by the Chinese Amba located in Lhasa.

4. Nepal shall give recognition to the border demarcated by the Chinese authority in Kuti and Kerung region.

5. China shall help Nepal if any foreign invasion occurred to Nepal.

6. Nepal shall return back the assets looted in Tashilampu, the remains of Shamarpa Lama and his supporters and colleagues.

7. Nepal shall, henceforth, not raise the currency related problems, and shall not make any claim on the Treaty of Kerung.

Treaty of Thapathali

The third war between Nepal and China was announced in 1911 BS (March, 1855). Although the war lasted for a short time, it was a fatal one. The war caused a huge human and property loss to both the
sides. Both the sides desired to stop the war and thus the negotiation began in Push 1912 BS. Kalon Shatra had come to Kathmandu for the negotiation leading the Tibetan side.

The negotiation had lasted for two months prior to the signing of the treaty. Finally, on 24th March, 1956 AD (Chait, 1912), a 10 point treaty was signed at the then Prime Minister’s residence, Thapathali palace. It has been named the Treaty of Thapathali as it was signed at Thapathali Durbar. The treaty had the following conditions:

1. The Tibet shall commit to pay the sum of ten thousand rupees annually as a present to Nepal.

2. Nepal shall be ready to assist Tibet if any foreign country attacks Tibet.

3. Lhasa government shall levy no taxes on Nepalese merchants.

4. Once the conditions of the treaty comes into effect, Nepal shall be compelled to return Kuti, Kerung, Jhunga regions to Tibet captured during the war period. Likewise, Nepal shall return Tibetan soldiers and sheep etc. that came into Nepal’s capture.

Similarly, Tibet shall return the Nepali cannons and shall free the Shikh soldiers who were under their captivity during the war that happened between Tibet and Dogras in 1841.

5. Henceforth, there shall be the ‘ambassador’ (Doot) as the representative of Nepal instead of a Nayak or a lawyer.

6. The Gurkha Government shall be allowed to open shops at Lhasa, the shops could freely trade in gems, jewelry and food stuff.

7. The Nepali officer shall be given the rights to settle the case arising from quarrels among the Gorkhalis and Kashimiris residing in Tibet. But, if any dispute arise among Nepali and Tibetans, the decision shall be made by joint dialogues between the representatives of both the governments. The
Nepali officer shall have no right to interfere in the internal affairs of the Tibetans.

8. Both the countries shall surrender the convicts to the respective countries if they escape after committing the crime.

9. The Government of Tibet shall ensure security to the life and property of Nepali merchants residing in Lhasa. Similarly, if the property of any Nepali merchant is plundered, the Government of Tibet shall make arrangement for the return of the property.

The Government of Tibet, if unable to cause to return, shall give compensation. The Government of Tibet expects the similar type of behavior for the protection of life and property of the merchants of Tibet living in Nepal.

10. Both the governments agree to protect the life and property of the citizens helping the enemy state during the war period.

Other Accords

A 10 point Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Nepal and China on 21st March, 2016 AD during the Nepal Parichaya/369 Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to China.

According to that MoU, the agreements that are important can have long term impact on Nepal including, Accord on Transit and Transportation, Accord on Free Trade, Accord to install Solar

System in 32,000 Households, Accord on Soft Loan, Loan Accord for the Construction of Pokhara Airport, Accord on Discovering Gas and Petroleum in Nepal were made between Nepal and China. Some accords have been implemented however there are many accords yet to be implemented.

Source: Government of Nepal Ministry of Communication and Information Technology Department of Information and Broadcasting.

For Nepali version : Click here

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