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Sunday, 1 May 2016

Bhutan’s leader pushes for new economic proposals beyond ODA

Bhutan’s prime minister says his country wants to build a cooperative economic relationship with Japan beyond the current ties based on conventional official developmental assistance.
“Your friendship matters a lot and has helped Bhutan grow,” Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said in an exclusive interview in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu, where he expressed his gratitude to Japan.
At the same time, Tobgay said, “I want to see more cooperation in terms of economic development.”
The small South Asian country has over the past five years established diplomatic relations with more than 20 countries, but only three — India, Bangladesh and Kuwait — have embassies in Thimphu.
Still, the country that marked the 30th anniversary this year of diplomatic relations with Japan is cautious about Tokyo opening an embassy in Bhutan.
While stressing that Japan is “among the oldest friends” of Bhutan, Tobgay said his country is reviewing the whole process related to the establishment of new embassies without setting a time frame.
Saying that Bhutan is under “tremendous pressure” from many countries to establish diplomatic relations, Tobgay suggested that allowing Japan to set up an embassy could push neighboring China, which wants to expand its influence over his country, to more strongly push for the opening of ties.

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