Bhutan counters China's fake claims

Bhutan forcefully countered reports in Chinese media that it has accepted Beijing's claim over Doklam, the scene of a tense military faceoff between Chinese and Indian forces, and asserted that there was no shift in its stance. Bhutan pushed back against Chinese propaganda with official sources in the Bhutan government telling that the area under the spotlight was very much Bhutanese territory.

Thimphu's reiteration comes even as Indian and Chinese troops continue to reinforce their positions not far from the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan trijunction where China's attempt to build a road was stalled by India. The road would give China a tactical ad vantage and besides being an intrusion in Bhutanese territory also violated the India-China special representatives' agreement that there would be no unilateral attempts to alter status quo.

Bhutan had on June 29 issued a press release in which it clearly stated that construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory was a direct violation of agreements and affected the process of demarcating the boundary between the two countries.

Bhutan said the Chinese army started constructing a motorable road from Dokola in the Doklam area towards the Bhutan army camp at Zompelri on June 16. It further said the boundary talks between Bhutan and China were underway and the two countries had written agreements of 1988 and 1998 stating that they agree to maintain peace and tranquillity in their border areas pending a final settlement of the boundary question. The two countries have also agreed to maintain status quo on the boundary as before March 1959 and refrain from taking unilateral action, or use of force, to change the status quo.

A senior Chinese official, Wang Wenli, had claimed that Bhutan had conveyed to Beijing through diplomatic channels that the area of the standoff was not its territory.Wang, who is the deputy director general of the department of boundary and ocean affairs in China's foreign ministry, reportedly conveyed this information to a visiting Indian media delegation on Wednesday. She, however, did not provide any evidence to back her claim, and is seen as part of an intense media war unleashed by Beijing. This has now been strongly denied by Bhutan.

China is engaging in full spectrum psychological warfare to sow confusion in India and Bhutan. The Chinese diplomat, while acknowledging that Bhutan had initially protested Beijing's violation in the Doklam area, was quoted as saying, “After the incident, the Bhutanese made it very clear to us that the place where the trespassing happened is not Bhutan's territory .“

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