A 24th round of boundary talks between Bhutan and China is planned sometime next year
Borders: The final phase of the joint technical field survey of disputed areas in western Bhutan will be carried out next month, it has been decided in the 23rd round of boundary talks held with China, according to a press release issued by the foreign affairs ministry, yesterday.
The 23rd round of boundary talks took place on August 24, in Thimphu.
The first joint technical field survey of the western region was conducted in June, this year.
Following next month’s joint technical field survey, a meeting of the expert group will occur towards the end of this year, after which a joint report of the two surveys of the western sector will be compiled.
The two leaders of the expert group will also discuss specific plans for a “mutually acceptable resolution of the boundary,” the press release stated.
The two governments will then consider the joint report and the boundary resolution plans as proposed by the expert group, in the next round of boundary talks which will be held at an undetermined date, next year.
The western sector comprises of 269 sq kms of disputed areas in northern Haa and Paro.
The leaders of the two delegations, foreign affairs minister, Damcho Dorji, and foreign affairs vice minister, Lui Zhenmin, reviewed progress on the boundary issue following the outcome of the 22nd round of boundary talks held in China, last year, it is pointed out in the press release.
In the 22nd round of boundary talks, the two countries endorsed the joint technical field survey report on the central northern disputed areas of Bayul-Pasamlung that comprised of 496 sq km of disputed areas.
Since then, two expert group meetings, one held in Thimphu in October, last year, and the other in Beijing, in March, and this year’s joint technical field survey of the western disputed areas have taken place.
“The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the talks and agreed that it had further deepened understanding between the two sides on the boundary issue and bilateral relations,” it is said in the press release. “The talks were held in a very warm and friendly atmosphere,” it is added.
The 11-member Chinese delegation also met with the Prime Minister, who informed them that he was personally visiting the disputed areas so that he is well informed of the actual situations there.
Vice minister, Liu Zhenmin, said that China will continue to respect Bhutan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. The vice minister also said that significant progress on the boundary issues had been made under the current governments of the two countries.
Lyonchoen and the vice minister agreed that both sides should look forward to a successful boundary negotiation and come to an early, comprehensive and mutually acceptable solution.
The Chinese delegation, which is leaving Bhutan today, visited Taktsang monastery in Paro besides other attractions, yesterday.
By Gyalsten K Dorji