China and Russia share a borderline of over 7,300 km, one of the longest in the world. Between the late 18th century and the early 20th century, Russia used military threats to force the Chinese Government to sign a total of 19 border treaties, taking more than 1.5 million square km of Chinese territory. Under the pretext of implementing these treaties, Russia encroached on another 350,000 square km of Chinese territory.
The negotiations over the Sino-Russian boundary started in the 1960s, lasting over four decades. In the process, China has adhered to the principle of a fair and complete solution.
The first round of border negotiations kicked off in February 1964 in Beijing. Although China believed the old border treaties were one-sided and unfair, China showed its willingness to base the negotiations on these treaties. During the negotiations, the two sides traded maps and clarified border demarcations. They reached consensus on dividing islets in border rivers: that rivers open to navigation should be divided from the median line of the trunk line and other rivers from the middle of the watercourse.
The second round of border negotiations lasted from October 1969 to June 1978. The two countries achieved the following understandings. First was to maintain the status quo. Second was to avoid military clashes. Third was armies of both countries should disengage from each other in controversial areas. Fourth, when a dispute arises, frontier defense regiments should deal with it peacefully. Despite the best intentions, this round of negotiations failed to decide on the general direction of the boundary.
The third round was initiated in February 1987. In May 1991, foreign ministers from China and the Soviet Union signed an agreement, which confirms 98 percent of the border direction in the eastern section of the Sino-Russian boundary. The only exceptions were Heixiazi Island and the Abagaitu Islet. In September 1994, the two foreign ministers signed an agreement deciding the western section of the boundary. During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China in 2004, both countries agreed to divide Heixiazi Island and the Abagaitu Islet equally, which marked the eventual solution of all border issues between the two countries.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, five union states from Central Asia gained independence. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan inherited most of the 3,300 km boundary with China in the west. Based on equality and mutual understanding, China has solved the border demarcation with these countries.