Disputed Bhutan border: China steps up construction

Disputed Bhutan border: China steps up construction

According to the satellite image analysis, China has accelerated settlement-building on the China-Bhutan border. More than 200 structures that included two-story buildings were being constructed in six locations. 

HawkEye 360, a data analytics firm specializing in satellite-based surveillance, provided images, and analysis, vetted by two experts, that show China’s recent construction along the Bhutan border. These activities have been underway since 2020 where China initiated building tracks first and clearing out areas. The mission application director at HawkEye 360, Chris Biggers said that it was based on the material provided by satellite imagery firms Capella Space and Planet Labs.

In a study of recent satellite images conducted by Capella Space, two other experts reported that all six settlements appear to be located on land disputed by Bhutan and China including a 110 square kilometer area with limited resources and no native population.

Bhutan’s foreign ministry said, “It is Bhutan’s policy not to talk about boundary issues in the public” and declined to comment further on the issue.

On the other hand, China’s foreign ministry said that the construction is entirely for the improvement of the working and living conditions of the local residents.