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Indo-China standoff: Bhutan refutes Beijing’s claim on Doklam

Bhutan

New Delhi: In a stern-yet-subtle way, Bhutan on Thursday put a full stop to the shrill rhetoric by China and rejected reports over Thimphu “giving up territorial rights over Doklam.”

“Our position on the border issue of Doklam is very clear. Please refer to our statement which has been published on the web site of Bhutan’s foreign ministry on June 29, 2017,” as per official sources.

It all started with a statement made by China’s top diplomat Wang Wenli who is the Deputy Director General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs in China’s foreign ministry, reportedly conveyed this information to a visiting Indian media delegation.

Interestingly, she did not provide any evidence of her claim, which official sources in Bhutan said is at complete variance with Thimphu’s stated position and actions.

While acknowledging that Bhutan had protested to the Chinese government about Beijing violating a bilateral pact by allowing its troops to construct a road in the Doklam area on June 16, Wang was quoted, as saying, “After the incident, the Bhutanese made it very clear to us that the place where the trespassing happened is not Bhutan’s territory.”

Official sources in Bhutan, however, firmly countered this claim by saying that their country’s foreign ministry has clearly emphasized in their June 29 statement that, “Bhutan has conveyed to the Chinese side, both on the ground and through the diplomatic channel, that the construction of the (motorable) road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the (written) agreements (of 1988 and 1998) and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between our two countries.”

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