Bhutan today accused China of directly violating the agreement between them by constructing a road inside its territory. In a strongly worded statement, Bhutan also asked China to stop constructing the motorable road from Dokola in the Doklam area towards the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri which it says affects the process of demarcating the boundary between the two countries. The comments by Bhutan come amid an ongoing face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the Doklam (also known as Donglang) area of the Sikkim sector.
Bhutan said it has also issued a demarche to China over the construction of the road and asked Beijing to restore the “status quo” by stopping the work immediately. The feeling in India is that the unilateral actions to restore status quo against tiny Bhutan in Doklam plateau has caused tension between China and its neighbours.
Top officials also said that “it was understood that India was compelled to step in for cooling temperature and has urged restrain and responsible behaviour”. Bhutan’s Foreign Ministry said it has conveyed to the Chinese side – both on the ground and through the diplomatic channel – “that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the agreements and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between our two countries”. The Donglong (Doklam) is a tri-junction area near the Chumbi Valley. It is under China’s control. However, Bhutan claims sovereignty over the area.
The statement from the Bhutanese Foreign Affairs Ministry said that boundary talks are ongoing between Bhutan and China and “we have written agreements of 1988 and 1998 stating that the two sides agree to maintain peace and tranquility in their border areas pending a final settlement on the boundary question, and to maintain status quo on the boundary as before March 1959.” “The agreements also state that the two sides will refrain from taking unilateral action, or use of force, to change the status quo of the boundary,” it added.