In a stunning-but unsubstantiated-claim' a senior Chinese official said yesterday that Bhutan has acknowledged that the Doka La area where the Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a standoff does not belong to it.

China's top diplomat on the boundary issue' Wang Wenli' told a visiting Indian media delegation that Bhutan has conveyed to Beijing through the diplomatic channels that the area of the standoff is not its territory.

She provided no evidence for the claim' which is at the complete variance with Bhutan's stated position and actions.

Bhutan had protested to the Chinese government' accusing it of violating a bilateral pact after its troops tried to construct a road in the Doka La area on June 16.

Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara has said his country will not take any side in the ongoing Sikkim standoff between India and China.

Nepal wants India and China to use "peaceful diplomatic means" to resolve the issue' said Mahara' also the Foreign Minister.