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China, Russia Solve All Disputes Along Shared Border

China and Russia reached the final agreement Thursday over their eastern border, putting an end to 40 years of negotiation.

During talks in Vladivostok, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, exchanged ratification documents by their parliaments agreeing to share around fifty-fifty the last disputed land, a group of islands totaling 375 square kilometers. China and Russia share a 4,300-kilometer-long border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Wednesday concerning the ratification of the document. He said earlier that "compromises" were necessary to find a solution acceptable to the Russian Federation's interests.

"By solving the border issue through peaceful consultation, Russia and China have set a good example for other countries in settling similar disputes," said Urey Tavrovski, president of the Moscow-based magazine, The Diplomat.

The two countries signed an additional agreement on the final demarcation of their eastern border during President Putin's visit to China last October. The document defined the two countries' border on two sections. These sections account for less than two percent of the border, but the issue had remained unsettled since 1991 when the two sides signed a border treaty on the eastern part of the common border.

China's top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), ratified the additional agreement on April 27. The document was approved by Russia's State Duma on May 20. It was passed by the Russian Federation Council five days later.

Former Russian Premier Yevgeny Primakov has said the peaceful settlement of the border issue is a "great achievement." He said that all disputes between the two neighbors regarding the border issue are now "in history."

"It's a solution satisfactory to both sides," said Sheng Shiliang, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, China's Cabinet. "It's an epoch-making event for China."

The borderline region boasts rich natural resources and easy access to traffic. Experts say the final demarcation will be conducive to its social and economic development and benefit the local residents.

"Many local Chinese have established business contacts with the Russians. Some have even become close friends," said Wu Zhifu, an environmental worker in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. His hometown, Fuyuan, faces the Russian city of Khabarovsk across the Heilongjiang River. "We're all happy at the peaceful solution of the border issue."

Reform and development officials in Heilongjiang Province said they are planning for the overall development of the borderline areas, including the construction of ports, warehouses and other infrastructure facilities.

(Xinhua News Agency June 3, 2005)

Putin Signs Law on China Border Agreement
China Announces Supplementary Agreement on Border with Russia
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Russian Parliament Ratifies Border Treaty with China
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