Ananya Dutta

KOLKATA: Diplomatic and trade ties between Bhutan and China are definitely conceivable in the future, but the current priority is to resolve all border issues, said Lyonpo Ugyen Tshering, the Foreign Minister of Bhutan here on Thursday.

“We have no diplomatic or trade relations with China so far, but it is definitely conceivable. We will have to find the right time when these matters can be worked out,” Mr. Tshering said.

The situation demanded a persistent and consistent policy, he said adding that the two countries were in the process of discussions on border issues which is the foremost priority right now.

Already an indirect trade link has been established, Mr. Tshering, said citing the example that often India buys heavy machinery and equipment of superior quality and at competitive prices from China and then installs it in Bhutan. “That is the nature of international trade,” he said.

On being asked to comment on the progress made in foreign relations a year since Bhutan became a democracy Mr. Tshering said that there is a need for the country to diversify in trade.

“Currently, 90 percent of our agricultural exports are to Bangladesh and all our surplus power is exported to India. We are selling very few products, but with more development we shall be able to progress,” he said.

Mr. Tshering was in the city for the formal inauguration of the office of the Consulate General on the occasion of the 102nd National Day of Bhutan.