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SOURCE: REUTERS

China and Nepal denied on Tuesday the accusations of Nepali opposition lawmakers who said Beijing had seized territory along the Himalayan border between the two nations.

Jeevan Bahadur Shahi, a provincial lawmaker of the opposition Nepali Congress party, said Chinese troops had crossed the border and built nine concrete structures about 1 km inside Nepal, at Limi in the district of Humla bordering Tibet.

Shahi, who represents the area, told Reuters that China did not object when Nepali villagers built a road in the sparsely populated area 10 years ago.

“They are now saying the small valley belongs to them,” Shahi said.

The claims were first reported on Tuesday by London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, which quoted Shahi and another Nepali politician as saying China had annexed dozens of hectares from the Himalayan nation bordering Tibet, beginning in May.

“It is not true that China has encroached our land and had constructed buildings there,” said Sewa Lamsal, a spokeswoman for Nepal’s foreign ministry, but she did not elaborate.

In Beijing, a foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, dismissed the report of China seizing territory from Nepal as a “completely unfounded rumour”.

The area of the alleged Chinese incursion is rugged and mountainous, with the border sometimes poorly marked.

In September, Nepal’s foreign ministry said that when similar claims were aired about the area in 2016, it had found the buildings to be sited one kilometre within Chinese territory.

Nepal has no border dispute with China, but it has one with its other neighbour India, itself locked in a military stand-off with China along their contested Himalayan border.