Amid frustration at the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio—which The Guardian‘s Jonathan Watts gloomily compared with a 1930s League of Nations assembly—a side meeting between Wen Jiabao and Bhutanese prime minister Jigmi Y. Thinley does appear to have borne fruit. From the AFP:
“China is willing… to establish formal relations with Bhutan, resolve the border issue between the two nations at an early date, strengthen exchanges in all areas and advance Sino-Bhutanese relations to a new stage,” Wen said.
China appreciated Bhutan’s support for the “one China policy” which maintains that Taiwan and Tibet fall under China’s sovereignty, Wen said.
Bhutan has maintained very limited formal bilateral relations with other nations, according to The Hindu‘s Ananth Krishnan, though this has started to change:
Bhutan, which enjoys close diplomatic, political and military relations with India, has in recent years begun to widen its diplomatic engagement, establishing relations with another country in the region, Myanmar, earlier this year. Bhutan also has diplomatic ties with Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Maldives, but does not have formal relations with either the United States or the four other permanent members of the UN Security Council.