Chinese checkers: Boundary with China under negotiation, it hasn't been demarcated, says Bhutan

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 10 Jul 2020

Thimphu/New Delhi: Amid COVID-19 pandemic spread and Chinese aggression evident in different corners of Asia, Himalayan nation Bhutan said its boundary with China is "under negotiation" and hasn't been demarcated.

"Twenty-four rounds of ministerial-level boundary talks have been held, the 25th round was delayed due to COVID-19," the Royal Bhutan Embassy in India said in a statement as quoted by the media. 

"All disputed areas to be discussed in next round, to be held as soon as mutually convenient," it added. "The boundary between Bhutan-China is under negotiation and hasn't been demarcated," the statement said. 

The statement was issued by the embassy at a time when China is claiming the Sakteng wildlife sanctuary which falls in the Trashi-gang district.

China has now objected to the sanctuary and asserted that it was on its land and not part of Bhutan.

China has asserted a new claim in the eastern border with Bhutan while Global Environment Facility (GEF), in an online meeting, requested to develop Sakteng wildlife sanctuary in Bhutan's Trashigang district, media reports said.

Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a US-based global body that finances projects in the environment sector.

Bhutan immediately opposed the Chinese claims and the GEF council passed the project for funding, anyway, an Indian Express report said.

The GEF approved the project for funding dismissing Beijing's claim over the Bhutanese territory.

However, the minutes of the meeting reflected the claims of both Bhutan and China, the report added.

According to the Indian Express report, China made the territorial claims at the 58th GEF Council meet on June 2 and June 3.

Aparna Subramani, Executive Director on the board of World Bank, an IAS officer, who represents Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka since September 1, 2017, represented Bhutan.

Former Indian ambassador to Bhutan, V P Haran, was quoted as saying by the Indian Express: “It is a surprising new development. Sakteng or any other part of eastern Bhutan was not disputed. Sakteng is quite some distance from the border with China. There is a dispute in only two segments of the border: in the north – Pasamlung and Jakarlung, and in the west – Doklam and some adjoining areas to the east. Joint field survey was conducted in 2013 and 2015, respectively.”

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