India, China and Nepal are “natural friends” and India’s cooperation in developing connectivity projects for Nepal could one day lead to an economic corridor through the Himalayas for all three nations, Beijing said on Wednesday.

“Let me say China and Nepal have agreed on a long-term vision of a multi-dimensional cross-Himalaya connectivity network,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press briefing with his Nepali counterpart Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, PTI reported. Gyawali is on his first visit to Beijing after the new Nepalese government headed by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli came to power in February.

Wang said China and Nepal had already signed the Belt and Road Initiative – an agreement that could reduce Nepal’s dependence on New Delhi for trade transit. But he added that such a network, “when well developed can also create conditions for an economic corridor connecting China, Nepal and India”. Wang said he “hoped” for cooperation between the three countries.

“I believe that China, Nepal and India are natural friends and partners,” Wang said, according to Reuters. “We are neighbours connected by the same mountains and rivers, and as we say in China, family members and neighbours wish each other well.”

When asked if Gyawali’s visit to China was to balance Oli’s trip to India in April– his first after taking over as prime minister – Wang said the focus must be on trilateral cooperation between India, China and Nepal, PTI reported. Wang added that support for Nepal’s development should be a common understanding between China and India.