China and Bhutan hold 12th Expert Group Meeting on boundary issues, agree to implement three-step roadmap to speed up negotiations

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26th May 2023 – (Beijing) China and Bhutan have successfully held the 12th Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on the China-Bhutan Boundary Issues in Thimphu, Bhutan, on 25th and 26th May, 2023. During the meeting, both sides reviewed the positive consensus reached at the 11th EGM in Kunming, China, and held frank and constructive discussions to take forward the implementation of the Three-Step Roadmap on speeding up border negotiations between the two countries.

The positive developments resulting from the Three-Step Roadmap were highlighted during the meeting, with both delegations expressing satisfaction with the progress made so far. The Chinese delegation was led by Hong Liang, director-general of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, while the Bhutanese delegation was led by Letho Tobdhen Tangbi, secretary of the International Boundaries of Bhutan.

The Three-Step Roadmap, which outlines a framework for border negotiations between China and Bhutan, has been a crucial point of discussion in previous EGMs. The roadmap consists of three steps, namely, exchanging views on the boundary, reviewing past negotiations, and exploring a package solution for the border issue. The successful implementation of this roadmap has been instrumental in addressing long-standing border disputes between the two countries.

Both delegations expressed their confidence in the Three-Step Roadmap and reiterated the importance of increasing the frequency of their meetings to make further progress in its implementation.Furthermore, the two sides agreed to hold the next EGM in Beijing at an early date, underscoring the importance of maintaining open communication channels between the two countries. In addition, they also agreed to hold the 25th Round of China-Bhutan Boundary Talks as soon as possible at mutually convenient dates.