China and Bhutan discussed Doklam issue during talks about their boundary dispute, as a part of the two-day of the Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, an event which was keenly watched by New Delhi.
Though there is no fresh escalation in the Sino-India relations after the Doklam flash point, there is simmering tension between the two countries as the issue still stands unresolved. For India, standing up with Bhutan is critical as it also ensures that India’s image as a long lasting ally to its friends in the region is reinforced. Besides, it prevents the Chinese from knocking at India’s door with strategic infrastructure at a vital choke point.
While India has been keen on a respectable resolution to the boundary issue in all the three sectors, in the talks between special interlocutors, China wants a formula first for the Eastern sector essentially some territory swap in Arunachal Pradesh that India cannot agree to.
Meanwhile Bhutan and China countries reached many agreements during the visit of the Chinese minister. This is the first time a senior Chinese official has visited Thimphu since last year’s Doklam military stand-off with India.
The two countries do not have diplomatic relations but maintain contacts through periodic visits by officials.
Kong also invited Bhutan to take part in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) during the visit, which ended on Tuesday.
A press release issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated that the two sides should continue to push forward the border negotiations; abide by the principled consensus reached; jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas; and create positive conditions for the final settlement of the border issue between the two.
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