Bhutan has taken initiatives to establish diplomatic relations with more countries – the latest example being Philippines.
According to Philippines News Agengy, ‘[There is keen interest] to establish diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Bhutan, and has indicated this interest for some time’.
In December 2019, Philippines’s Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo LB. Montealegre called on Foreign Minister Dr. Tandi Dorji and presented a letter from his government conveying the country’s desire to establish diplomatic links with Bhutan.
“The establishment of diplomatic relations is a process that entails sustained contacts and discussions between both sides. The recent mission of the [Department of Foreign Aaffairs] to Thimphu is an important and significant step in moving forward this priority undertaking,” the agency further said.
While the two nations had never established consular ties, Manila maintains warm relations with Bhutan’s capital city of Thimphu, as the two engaged in significant practical and technical cooperation over the past few years. In the past, the DFA said the Philippines had already welcomed a number of Bhutanese officials on missions for training, or to exchange best practices.
The first elected government led by Jigmi Thinley had initiated expanding diplomatic horizon but was curtailed by India. The second elected government led by Tshering Tobgay never took steps to expand diplomatic relations.
Bhutan currently maintains relations with 53 countries.