Rejecting Bhutan's claims, China today said the Doklam area in the Sikkim sector has been a traditional pasture for Chinese cattle grazers over which it has historically exercised "complete and comprehensive" control. The Chinese assertion came amid stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops after the Indian Army blocked construction of a road by China in Doklam, a disputed territory between China and Bhutan.
"From historical evidence we can see that Doklam has been a traditional pasture for the Tibetan residents and we have exercised good administration over the area," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters here.
He said that before the 1960s, if the Bhutan residents around the border wanted to graze their cattle they had to get the approval from China. He claimed that the Doklam area was under Chinese administration since emperor Qing's dynasty, the last imperial
dynasty of China established in 1636.
"The Tibetan dynasty and Qing dynasty also set a clear boundary along the border," he said.
"In addition to the jurisprudential evidence, the historical convention in 1890 (the Sinio-British treaty) has clearly defined it as the crossing point between China, Bhutan and Indian boundary," Lu said.
"The Doklam area belongs to Chinese territory and we are exercising complete and comprehensive administration over the the region and our border troops and the residents around the border are herding their cattle along this," he said. He claimed that the evidence is recognised by the Bhutan side.
Lu said the area where Chinese side undertook road construction "totally belongs to the Chinese territory" and offered to release details on this on foreign ministry's website.
He refuted Bhutan's allegation that Chinese troops' attempts to construct the road violated the 1988 and 1999 agreements to maintain peace and tranquilly. "Even though China and Bhutan have not established diplomatic relationship we always maintain traditional
friendship. We can tell you that Chinese people are friendly and want good relations with Bhutan people," he said.
"But our determination to uphold our territorial integrity and sovereignty is unwavering," he said.
"The Doklam area belongs to Chinese territory and we are exercising complete and comprehensive administration over the the region and our border troops and the residents around the border are herding their cattle along this," the Chinese spokesman said.
Bhutan foreign ministry had yesterday issued a statement underlining that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory was a direct violation of the 1988 and 1998 agreements between Bhutan and China and affected the process of demarcating the boundary between the two countries.