China Wants Sakhalin Back

One of the crucial sources of tension and conflict in relations between the Soviet Union and Communist China was the issue of the unequal treaties concluded between the weakened Chinese empire of the 19th Century and the expanding empire that was tsarist Russia. As soon as the relationship completely broke down in the autumn of 1962, the Chinese Government under Mao Tse-tung began asking for the restitution of land taken from China by the Tsar and brazenly infringing the frontier at every opportunity. The border war of 1969 over possession of Damansky island marked the highest point of tension in relations and paved the way for President Nixon’s pursuit of an alignment with Beijing against Moscow. The Chinese role in precipitating the border war is still a sensitive issue. My account of it from Russian sources was excised from the Chinese edition of my detailed monograph Russia’s Cold War.

With the discovery of archeological remains on the island of Sakhalin dating back to the Manchu, the Chinese have, through their own media, begun unofficially laying claim to this oil rich property. And the Russians are, quite naturally, none too pleased. They still lack a peace treaty with Japan because the latter claims territory seized by Moscow in 1945. Hitherto the Chinese have never sided with Japan on that issue. Is this about the change? Perhaps President Putin should reconsider Russia’s obduracy on the subject as to lose a few small islands to win over Tokyo would more than compensate for the loss of energy-rich Sakhalin. “We have not forgotten Damansky!” wrote one reader, from St Petersburg.

Today’s article by Dmitrii Bavyrin in the hardline Vzglyad ru pulls no punches.

Почему Китай вспомнил об «отобранном Россией» Сахалине

Согласно летописям времен династии Западная Хань, на севере Китая находился большой остров, которым управляла династия Чжунъюань

30 июля 2019, 09:58
Текст: Дмитрий Бавырин