Numbers seal Bhutan’s UNSC fate

Socio-economic strength and trade links follow

Bhutan can keep aside its United Nations Security Council (UNSC) dreams for now as the tough numbers game shows that Bhutan will not have enough votes to get a seat at the UNSC.

The country’s expanse in terms of diplomatic relations and their offices was one of the main reasons cited by Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley due to which Bhutan fell short of miles to cinch the desired votes.

On arrival from attending the 67th session of the UN general assembly in New York City, Lyonchhen in his briefing at the Paro airport delivered a report of the transpirations at the general assembly which included the ‘up-to and now’ progress on Bhutan’s possible UNSC candidature.

Lyonchhen said “It will be difficult to gain a seat on the UNSC through elections”.

He said a key and cornerstone reason toward it is Bhutan’s number of diplomatic relations with other countries.

Bhutan presented its candidature to the UN in 1999 when no other countries had expressed interest but of late two countries had shown interest. They are South Korea and Cambodia.

South Korea and Cambodia are nations which have diplomatic relations with almost every country. And an added benefit for South Korea lies in its most conspicuously granted assistance to many nations which totals to a tune of almost US$ 5bn.

Cambodia meanwhile is a nation strategically favored given its nature of governance.

In comparison to the level of socio-economic development, trade and commerce and defense strengths, Bhutan only had a far off chance, said Lyonchhen since the nations vie for the seat with all these factors in perspective.

In the case of South Korea, said Lyonchhen, “we had repeatedly requested them to withdraw their move for candidature. We told them that they had previously been a member in the Security Council that they have been a UN member for only 20 years whereas Bhutan is now in its 43rd year as a member”.

However, S Korea expressed the immense benefits they would have if they are member of the UNSC. How it will help the security of its nation etc. “So they didn’t want to back away from scoring seat in the SC,” said Lyonchhen.

This is however not the ‘be all end all’ of matters for Bhutan.

“Bhutan will not withdraw from the process,” clearly stated the Lyonchhen.  This decision arises from rigorous consultative discussions with supportive voices and the cabinet.

The Lyonchhen was of the view that all this would allow Bhutan to tell the UN it did not stick with the principles of democracy. And in that he said Bhutan promoted itself on the basis of sovereign equality, principles of democracy, and rotation basis.

Bhutan’s silver lining in this crusade for the non-permanent UNSC seat, is the many relations it built along the way with many countries.  Lyonchhen said “Bhutan is now well-known and respected by UN members, and its independence, sovereignty, and security has only been further strengthened”.

Currently, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk who is the acting foreign minister remains in New York to continue Bhutan’s most concerted efforts to convince more countries and garner their support.

Lyonchhen in his briefing said that the establishment of diplomatic relations with 15 more countries is expected.

UN security council elections are scheduled for October 18.


Sonam Pelvar / Thimphu

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    Expenses at the time of country’s economy crises is what we need for unsc. No rupee, no usd still pm boost of wings to fly like an eagle. Lessons never learnt, IT, edu city, etc all are expenses paid from Tay payers money, officials travel all around the world..

  2. PM’s logic is like someone complaining about the difficulty of building a skyscraper in Thimphu. Yes it is difficult due to budget constraints, technology constraints, availability of tenants etc etc. But the relevant question is why the desire to build a skyscraper in Thimphu?

    The seat the PM is trying to get is not even a permanent one and the benefits are not very tangible. It will put Bhutan in the hot seat on so many issues and we may well make more enemies than friends at the UN. Whose side will we take on the issue of the Senkaku Islands or the Spratleys or the other island problem japan has with Korea? Or with Russia? India and Pakistan? 

    And what sort of budgets are we talking about opening up so many diplomatic relations? Remember, we’re broke now. The private sector has no money and the DHI also is going to borrow from outside. 

  3. Frankly, our PM seems to think that we are a large country with plenty of recources. His frequent visits abroad with huge delegations seems indicate that notion. And all this costs money. If we can get return on our investments, than I accept this extragavence to be worth our while. So, how about the PM’s office or even the Finance Ministry do some simple maths for us and let the citizens know how he is justifying these expenditures. During his most recent visit,I heard that he took a 50 member delegation. I stand to be corrected if I’m wrong. Honesty. can we afford such expenditures at this time of economic crisis or any other time for that matter.
    Our PM is soaring high above and its time for him to touch the ground of reality and see what is happening in the country. Time to give up the fantasy world of illusions and face the real  challenges at home. There are many of us feeling the pinch and finding it hard to make ends meet.A serious rexamination of our economic and fiscal policies will be a good start. Getting the bureaucrats to work harder will be another. Also, please don’t forget that our politicians should give up their bloated egos and  start working towards the common interest, rather than their constant in fighting  and self – promotion.

  4. Kudos for trying, although it was known by many observers that it would be more likely not to be possible. As a small country, we cant afford to be insular. We need as many friends as possible and the candidature was a good opportunity to build expand this network.

    What is not mentioned is that we probably did not get support from the permanent members of the UNSC. Think about it! The US want their own allies or those who they can influence (S. Korea), and China will not want anyone too friendly to India.

    You also need more than just diplomatic relations, you need to gain the support and “earn” the votes. We dont give out development aid, we are recipients, so no chance there running on goodwill. You need hard capital.

    I heard from those in the loop, that way back in the 1990s, South Korea had given a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ to support Bhutan in this candidature, in exchange for support from Bhutan for some other issue for South Korea at that time. So much for honoring such agreements and honor.

    Just writing this, I recall one of Dr. David’s many opinion pieces in this paper about why South Korea with world class standards deserves this seat more than tiny upstart Bhutan. So much for world class honor and standards.

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