Chinese-Russian Relations

Chinese-Russian Relations

Chinese-Russian Relations

Chinese-Russian Relations

Excerpt

Sino-Russian relations constitute a unique phenomenon in world history--the phenomenon of two empires, both in full swing of expansion, which succeeded in achieving a delimitation of their interests and in establishing an extensive common frontier without at any time, over a period of three centuries, having had recourse to war.

Neither of the two empires had been especially peaceful. Russia during the past three hundred years has fought wars with every one of her other neighbors. As for China, the period of Russian expansion coincided with the reign of her Manchurian dynasty which, under its early emperors, was particularly vigorous and active. After a long period of isolation under the Ming, when China entrenched behind the Great Wall, the new emperors revived the old traditions of Tang and Han and began a successful penetration into Manchuria, Mongolia, and Central Asia, subjugating the native tribes: in each of these vast regions they were eventually to meet the Russians.

Great countries, Lord Palmerston once remarked, have no permanent enemies or friends--they have permanent interests. The permanent and dominating interests involved in the immense territories bordering China and Russia have undoubtedly been reciprocal security and defense. The two established empires, separated from one another by an ocean of nomads, had an identical historical mission--the "pacifying" and "civilizing" of these nomads in the interest of their own security. In order to accomplish this purpose, China and Russia followed an almost identical policy, but each carried it out . . .

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