Magazine article Russian Life

Remapping Russia: Changes to Borders with China ... and Japan?

Magazine article Russian Life

Remapping Russia: Changes to Borders with China ... and Japan?

Article excerpt

Russia appears to be taking steps to resolve some long-standing territorial disputes on its eastern borders.

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During his visit to China in October, President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement demarcating the Russian-Chinese border. The agreement envisages the handover to China of Tarabarov Island and part of Bolshoy Ussuriysky Island, near Khabarovsk. Bolshoy Ussuriysky includes a Russian fortified area, a border outpost, dachas and farms, and lies in the approach path of military and civilian aircraft to Khabarovsk.

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Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with NTV in November that Russia still agrees to abide by the terms of a 50-year-old Soviet-Japanese declaration, whereby Russia would cede the Kurile island of Shikotan and the Habomai chain to Japan upon signature of a bilateral peace treaty, formally ending WWII between the two nations. While the timing of the statement is interesting, it is not anything new, and has been the Soviet/Russian stance since the declaration was made in 1956. Japan, meanwhile, has long stipulated that Russia must return Iturup and Kunashir as well. …

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