|China Bhutan Meet for Peace 2021 / The Hindu|
Bhutan and China have agreed to hold the much-delayed 25th round of bilateral boundary talks, almost five years after the last meeting was held and in the wake of a fresh claim by Beijing in the eastern sector that borders India’s Arunachal Pradesh state.
The agreement was reached at the 10th expert group meeting (EGM) on the Bhutan-China boundary issue that was held in Kunming during April 6-9, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries on Friday.
The meeting was held against the backdrop of the dragging standoff between India and China in the Ladakh sector, which began almost a year ago. At the height of the standoff, China claimed for the first time in July last year that it has a boundary dispute with Bhutan in the eastern sector, a region that borders Arunachal Pradesh, which is also claimed by Beijing.
The joint statement issued by Bhutan and China said: “The two sides agreed to hold the 25th round of Bhutan-China boundary talks and the 11th EGM as soon as possible at mutually convenient dates.”
The EGM discussed a roadmap to expedite the Bhutan-China boundary talks, the joint statement said without giving details.
Bhutan and China have held 24 rounds of talks between 1984 and 2016 to settle their border issue and, according to discussions in the Bhutanese parliament and other public records of these meetings, the discussions have only centred on disputes in the western and central sections of the boundary.
It couldn’t immediately be ascertained if China’s claim in the eastern sector with Bhutan