Russia Transfers Islands to China
Russia transferred control over half of Bolshoi Ussuriisky Island and all of Tarabarov Island to China today. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, a ceremony will be held in which representatives of the Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministries, Defense Ministries, Border services and local authorities will take part. Russia and China reached an agreement on dividing up the disputed islands in the Amur River in 2004. The border was legally established only in July 2007, however, in a supplemental protocol describing the borderline singed the countries’ foreign ministers. That protocol comes into force today, completing the demarcation of the entire Russian-Chinese border. Negotiations between Russia and China on disputed territories have gone on for over 40 years. The islands of Bolshoi Ussuriisky and Tarabarov, along with the small islands surrounding them, form a land mass of about 375 sq. km.
World’s Biggest Country Becomes a Little Bit Smaller
Russia has officially handed over part of its territory to China, settling a border dispute that goes back centuries. Following an agreement signed in 2004 China has been granted the whole of Tarabarov island and part of Bolshoy Ussuriysky island. Both islands are situated in the Amur river. The ceremony was attended by Russian and Chinese diplomats, as well as local and military officials. It’s hoped this will finally settle all frontier disputes between two countries. The long awaited transfer comes as part of the deal struck between Moscow and Beijing in 2004. About 170 square kilometres of Bolshoy Ussuriysky was transferred to China, while the rest will remain in Russia's jurisdiction. The total area of these territories located in the Khabarovsk region is approximately 340 square kilometres. The two sections make up less than two per cent of the Russian-Chinese border, which stretches to some 4,200 kilometres. Evgeny Bazhanov, a Russo-Chinese relationships expert, who’s spent years working on a solution to the island issue, sees the move as a geopolitical breakthrough. “Thanks to this resolution we have a multilaterally approved and documentarily stated border with China, which is a big breakthrough in international relations. For instance, our relations with Japan are at a standstill because of a dispute about four small islands,” Bazhanov said. Territorial arguments between the countries date back to periods of expansion by both Tsarist Russia and Imperial China.