Now China picks up boundary dispute with Bhutan too; Objects to developing the Sakteng wildlife sanctuary in eastern Bhutan for being in a 'disputed area'!

    06-Jul-2020   
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Bhutan China Claim_1 
 
The hegemonic territorial claims of Communist China seems to have no end and does not seem to leave even small countries like Bhutan. On July 6th, China objected to Bhutan's plan to develop the Sakteng wildlife sanctuary in eastern Bhutan’s Trashigang district at an online meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
 
Hitherto, China had never claimed any dispute in this region although it had disputes in north and western regions of Bhutan. Bhutan had sought funding from the GEF for developing the wildlife sanctuary. China which is part of the GEF objected to the project stating the sanctuary lies in a 'disputed area'. The Chinese representative is reported to have said, "...in light of the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary in the project ID 10561 is located in the China-Bhutan disputed areas which is on the agenda of China-Bhutan boundary talk, China opposes and does not join the Council decision on this project”.
 
However, not to be taken lying down, Bhutan strongly objected to China's claims at the meet. The Council member for the Constituency of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka requested that the views of Bhutan be reflected as follows: “Bhutan totally rejects the claim made by the Council Member of China. Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is an integral and sovereign territory of Bhutan and at no point during the boundary discussions between Bhutan and China has it featured as a disputed area”.
 
Consequently, much to China's chagrin, the GEF discarded it's claim and sanctioned the Sakteng wildlife sanctuary project. The sanctuary is located in the easternmost part of Bhutan and was never contested by China in the past.
 

Bhutan Tibet_1   
 
After the loss of face, the Chinese foreign ministry in a statement said — “The boundary between China and Bhutan has never been delimited. There have been disputes over the eastern, central and western sectors for a long time, and there are no new disputed areas. China always stands for a negotiated package solution to the China-Bhutan boundary issue.”
 
Though India, which is part of GEF, has not reacted to the developments officially, sources say that the foreign ministry and the Indian embassy in Bhutan are in touch with officials there and are monitoring the situation closely.