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International Boundary Row: China and Bhutan discuss Military Stand-Off at Doklam

Beijing, July 24: China on Tuesday said it discussed the vexed boundary issue including the Doklam plateau with Bhutan during Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou’s three-day visit to Thimpu. India and China were locked in an over two-month long military stand-off near their boundary in the Doklam plateau, contested by both Beijing and Thimpu.

The stand-off began in June when Indian troops stalled a road building by the Chinese Army in the area, citing the disputed status of the region and its close proximity to India’s artery in the northeast.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Xuanyou was in Bhutan from July 22 to July 24 and was accompanied by China’s envoy to India Luo Zhaohui.

“During his visit, he met the fourth and fifth kings (Jigme Singye Wangchuck and Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck) of Bhutan and its Prime Minister (Tshering Tobgay). He also held talks with Bhutan’s Foreign Minister (Dmacho Dorji),” Geng said. The two sides exchanged views on China-Bhutan ties, boundary issues and reached many agreements,” he added.

China has no diplomatic ties with Bhutan with which it has a border dispute. The Doklam plateau is a part of the disputed border where the boundaries of India, China, and Bhutan meet. China has offered 269 square kilometres of area in the western sector to Bhutan in lieu of 100 square kilometres in Doklam. Bhutan refuses to accept this.

“The two sides should continue to push forward the border negotiations, abide by the principled consensus reached, jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas, and create positive conditions for the final settlement of the border issue,” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
In June 2017, New Delhi objected to Chinese road building in Doklam because of the disputed status and its proximity to the Siliguri Corridor which links India’s northeast to the rest of the country. The stand-off ended in August after both sides retreated from the point of the face off. (IANS)