Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sino-Russian Relations

Refound common interests

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, relations with Russia have dramatically improved, both countries found common interests and a common free market orientation, and related to these, a common opponent: the United States as the sole superpower. In 1991, the Sino-Russian Border Agreement was signed apportioning territory that became contested during the Sino-Soviet border conflict.

Settling the disputes

The Russian government agreed to transfer Tarabarov Island as well as one half of Bolshoy Ussuriysky Island to China in 2004, ending a long-standing border dispute between Russia and China. Both islands are found at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers, and were until then administered by Russia and claimed by China. The event was meant to foster feelings of reconciliation and cooperation between the two countries by their leaders. The transfer has been ratified by both the Chinese National People's Congress and the Russian State Duma. The official transfer ceremony was held on-site 14 October 2008.

A strategic alliance

In 2001, the close relations between the two countries were formalized with the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, a twenty-year strategic, economic, and controversially, (arguably) an implicit military treaty. A month before the treaty was signed, the two countries joined with junior partners Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan andUzbekistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The PRC is currently a major Russian customer of imports needed to modernize the People's Liberation Army, and the foremost benefactor of the under construction Russian Eastern Siberia – Pacific Ocean oil pipeline.

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