China, Bhutan try to resolve border dispute; agree to speed up dialogue process

Bhutan shares a 477 km long border with China and both countries have held 24 rounds of border talks to resolve the border dispute Image Courtesy AP

Beijing: China and Bhutan have agreed to speed up talks to resolve the border dispute. China and Bhutan have signed a positive consensus to settle their border dispute through a three-stage roadmap and accelerate dialogue.

According to a joint statement issued by the two countries, the 11th Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on the China-Bhutan boundary issue was held in Kunming city of China from January 10 to 13.

Bhutan shares a 477 km long border with China and both countries have held 24 rounds of border talks to resolve the border dispute. China and Bhutan do not have diplomatic relations, but contacts are maintained through periodic visits by officials.

In fact, India and Bhutan are the two countries with which China has not yet finalized the boundary agreement. While Beijing has settled border disputes with 12 other neighbours. The joint statement said that at the 11th Expert Group meeting, the two sides held in-depth discussions in a frank, cordial and constructive atmosphere on a three-stage roadmap to accelerate the China-Bhutan boundary talks to implement the MoU.

It added that both sides have agreed to take forward the implementation of all phases of the three-phased roadmap simultaneously. He said both sides also agreed to increase the frequency of EGMs and maintain contact through diplomatic channels. Also agreed to hold the 25th round of China-Bhutan boundary talks at the earliest.

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to accelerate China-Bhutan boundary talks in 2021, laying out a three-stage roadmap to speed up boundary talks and the establishment of diplomatic relations, the statement said. At the same time, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Xianghao, who signed the agreement, said that he is confident that the MoU signed today will make meaningful contributions to speed up border negotiations and promote the process of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.

China has made efforts in recent years to establish diplomatic ties with Bhutan and accelerate talks to resolve the complex border dispute. Let us tell you that in 2017, China’s attempt to build a road in the Doklam Plateau resulted in a major standoff between India and China, which increased the tension between the two neighboring countries. After which India strongly opposed the road construction by the Chinese army in Doklam. The standoff ended when Beijing abandoned its plan to build the road.

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