New Delhi: China today sought to defend its recent claims over the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan, saying the boundary between the two countries is yet to be demarcated and it has proposed a “package solution” to resolve the issue.
In a surprise move, China recently staked claim over the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan at the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council and opposed funding to the project.
Asked about China’s claim over the sanctuary in Bhutan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing in Beijing that the boundary between the two countries is yet to be demarcated.
“China’s position remains consistent and clear. The boundary between China and Bhutan has not been delimited and there are disputes in the middle, eastern and western sections,” he said.
“So, China advocates a package solution to resolve the dispute,” he said.
“China is opposed to making an issue of these disputes at multilateral forums and China remains in communication with the relevant parties on this issue,” the spokesman said.
The GEF Council has, as per reports, approved the funding for the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary after World Bank’s executive director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, Aparna Subramani, said that Bhutan completely rejected China’s claim.
Notably, there are no diplomatic ties between China and Bhutan. However, officials’ periodic visits help Beijing and Thimphu maintain contacts. Twenty-four rounds of boundary talks have been held between China and Bhutan.
China staked its claim over the Bhutanese territory amid Beijing’s aggressive moves in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control.
China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea have been rejected by the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan.
China and Bhutan do not have diplomatic relations but maintain contacts through periodic visits by officials. The two countries have held 24 rounds of boundary talks in a bid to resolve the boundary dispute.
China’s claim over Bhutanese territory came in the midst of Beijing’s aggressive moves in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control with India.
China is also engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the area.