Bhutan is­sues a de­marche, China yet to re­spond

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Dechen Dolkar from Thim­phu

Bhutan is yet to re­ceive a re­sponse from China after it is­sued a de­marche fol­low­ing the Chi­nese Army con­struct­ing a motor road in­side Bhutanese ter­ri­tory.

Speak­ing to Busi­ness Bhutan, the min­is­ter for for­eign af­fairs, Dam­cho Dorji, said the gov­ern­ment did not re­ceive any re­sponse from the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and as of now there is no new de­vel­op­ment.

“If there is any new de­vel­op­ment, the

min­istry will is­sue a press re­lease again,” said Ly­onpo Dam­cho Dorji.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, on 16th June the Chi­nese Army started con­struct­ing a road in­side Bhutanese ter­ri­tory from Dokola in the Dok­lam area to­wards the Bhutan Army camp at Zom­pelri.

“Bhutan has con­veyed to the Chi­nese side, both on the ground and through the diplo­matic chan­nel, that the con­struc­tion of the road in­side Bhutanese ter­ri­tory is a di­rect vi­o­la­tion of the agree­ments and af­fects the process of de­mar­cat­ing the bound­ary be­tween our two coun­tries,” states a press re­lease from the for­eign min­istry.

The re­lease also states that the bound­ary talks are on­go­ing be­tween Bhutan and China and have writ­ten agree­ments of 1988 and 1998 stat­ing that the two sides agree to main­tain peace and tran­quil­ity in their bor­der ar­eas pend­ing a fi­nal set­tle­ment on the bound­ary ques­tion, and to main­tain sta­tus quo on the bound­ary as be­fore March 1959.

The agree­ments also state that the two sides will re­frain from tak­ing uni­lat­eral ac­tion, or use of force, to change the sta­tus quo of the bound­ary.

The In­dian me­dia ear­lier quoted Bhutan’s Am­bas­sador to In­dia, Ma­jor Gen­eral Vet­sop Nam­gyel, that Bhutan had is­sued the de­marche.

The In­dian Express quoted the am­bas­sador say­ing that Dok­lam is a dis­puted ter­ri­tory and Bhutan has a writ­ten agree­ment with china that pend­ing the fi­nal res­o­lu­tion of the bound­ary is­sue, peace and tran­quil­ity should be main­tained in the area. “We have asked China to stop the road con­struc­tion,” the Am­bas­sador said.

The re­cent de­vel­op­ments have fur­ther dented the al­ready volatile re­la­tion­ship be­tween In­dia and China. China has al­leged that In­dian troops crossed the bound­ary line in the Sikkim sec­tor of the China-In­dia bound­ary and en­tered Chi­nese ter­ri­tory.

The In­dian gov­ern­ment main­tained a long si­lence on the is­sue and chose to break the si­lence only yesterday evening, “It is our un­der­stand­ing that a Royal Bhutan Army pa­trol at­tempted to dis­suade them from this uni­lat­eral ac­tiv­ity. The am­bas­sador of the Royal Gov­ern­ment of Bhutan has pub­licly stated that it lodged a protest with the Chi­nese Gov­ern­ment through their Em­bassy in New Delhi on 20 June,” says the state­ment.

The state­ment fur­ther goes on to say, “In co­or­di­na­tion with the RGOB, In­dian per­son­nel, who were present at gen­eral area Doka la (known in Bhutan as Dok­lam), ap­proached the Chi­nese con­struc­tion party and urged them to de­sist from chang­ing the sta­tus quo. These ef­forts con­tinue.”

Ac­cord­ing to the In­dian Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs min­istry, in keep­ing with their tra­di­tion of main­tain­ing close con­sul­ta­tion on mat­ters of mu­tual in­ter­est, Bhutan and In­dia have been in con­tin­u­ous con­tact through the un­fold­ing of these de­vel­op­ments.

Bhutan and China has held 24 rounds of bound­ary talks since it be­gan in 1984. Two ar­eas, one in the cen­tral north­ern sec­tor and four in the west­ern sec­tor have been the sub­ject of talks as there are dif­fer­ences in claims. The dis­puted area in Pasam­lung in the cen­tral north com­prises of 496 sq. km while the dis­puted ar­eas in the west­ern sec­tion are Dra­mana, Charithang, Sinchu­lung, and Dok­lam, in the dzongkhags of Haa and Paro.

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