China slowly invading Himalayan neighbour Bhutan: Study

ANI
Beijing, China Published: May 24, 2021, 09:20 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Others )

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The largely Buddhist Bhutanese have much in common with the people of Tibet which now lies within China. But diplomatically and economically, the government in Thimphu has closer links to India and Beijing doesn`t even have an embassy in Bhutan

China has been gradually and stealthily invading its tiny neighbour Bhutan for years now, reveals new research findings.A paper published by journal Foreign Policy stated that China has built an entire town, replete with roads, a power plant, two CPC buildings, a communications base, military and police outposts and a warehouse, almost 8 kilometres into Bhutan, reported the Australian news, site news.com.au.

In early April, the Chinese welcomed a delegation of international visitors to the city of Kunming in Yunnan province, which discussed China`s mountainous southern border, which lies uninhabited and sports wild terrain.

With a population of just 800,000 compared to China`s 1.4 billion, "there is little Bhutan can do" but watch as Beijing takes large gulps of its territory, the research paper states.

"This involves a strategy that is more provocative than anything China has done on its land borders in the past," wrote Robert Barnett in Foreign Policy earlier this month.

The largely Buddhist Bhutanese have much in common with the people of Tibet which now lies within China. But diplomatically and economically, the government in Thimphu has closer links to India and Beijing doesn`t even have an embassy in Bhutan.

That Bhutan and China can`t agree where their 470 km common border lies is nothing new. By some accounts Beijing claims 12 per cent of the territory governed by Thimphu. The recent meeting in Kunming was the 25th the two nations have held concerning the frontier.

China has long built roads into these disputed territories. But building a whole town within the internationally recognised territory of another nation, even if that territory is disputed, is striking, reported news.com.au.

Called Gyalaphug, or Jieluobu in Chinese, an administration block at its centre features a hammer and sickle. A nearby banner proclaims "Resolutely uphold the core position of General Secretary Xi Jinping!"It`s estimated several hundred people, and even more yaks, could now live in Gyalaphug. That number is boosted by a rotation of construction workers, party cadres, police and soldiers.

"There is little that Bhutan can do," said Barnett, given China would know it`s clearly violating a 1998 agreement to leave the disputed areas be, reported news.com.au.

To the frustration of Bhutan, China`s territorial claims keep growing. Gyalaphug, for instance, is well within Bhutan according to some official Chinese maps from the 1980s.

Also, Bhutan is adamant that the dispute in the country`s east, where Beijing now claims land in the Sakteng wildlife reserve, is a new one.

It`s never been raised by China before. Sakteng does not even border China, reported news.com.au.It does, however, border the India` north eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing also claims as its own. Observers say that`s another sign it`s not really about Bhutan at all. China`s real target appears to be India.

Stealthily but steadily, Beijing is reportedly building whole towns across internationally recognised borders in a new and dangerous global power play.What Beijing has already done in the South China Sea - building outposts and claiming dubious sovereignty - is now also being done in the Himalayas, according to reports. 

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