Chinese media on Monday claimed that a new border village built by China near Bhutan was on Chinese territory, but released images of the village appearing to show its location on territory disputed by the two countries.
The Global Times confirmed the village of Pangda had been newly built and residents moved there in September. An image released by the newspaper placed the village in disputed territory, a couple of kilometres inside what Bhutan sees as its territory.
Last week, however, Bhutan’s officials denied the village was on their territory. Bhutan’s Ambassador in India Vetsop Namgyel told The Hindu, “There is no Chinese village inside Bhutan.”
The Global Times said “according to open records, authorities in Yadong county of Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region have confirmed that 27 households with 124 people voluntarily moved from Shangdui village of Duina prefecture of Yadong county to Pangda village in September 2020,” adding the village was was 35 km away from the county.
Chinese media reported there were 27 households, and the village was covered by asphalt roads and “has a public square, village committee, health room, police room, kindergarten, supermarket, and plastic runway”.
China has in the past sought to bolster its territorial claims in disputed areas by building civilian settlements there, as on disputed South China Sea islands.
According to China’s maps, the village is within China’s territory, but China’s border extends further south beyond where India and Bhutan say the border runs.