Russia’s Lavrov could discuss border islands’ handover in China

By RIA Novosti,

Beijing : Russia’s foreign minister could discuss the handover of two border river islands to China during his official visit to the country on July 21-22, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

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“I believe the parties will exchange opinions on the remaining territorial issues,” ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

Earlier this month, a senior Russian security official said that Russia would relinquish control of the Tarabarov island and about half of the Bolshoi Ussuriysky island, located at the confluence of the Amur and the Ussuri rivers, in August, under a 2004 bilateral agreement.

The 2004 agreement on the eastern sector of the 4,300-kilometer border, the world’s longest land frontier, was signed after China agreed to drop territorial claims to the other islands near the Russian city of Khabarovsk. The deal put an end to a decades-long territorial dispute between the two states.

Russia and China signed border agreements in 1991 and 1994 delimiting the eastern and western sections of their frontier, but several minor sectors were left unresolved.

The two islands – occupied by the Soviet Union in 1929 and referred to collectively in Chinese as the Heixiazi – were the site of several military skirmishes during the 1960s.

Liu said that during his visit, Lavrov would meet with Chinese leader Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi “to discuss acute issues of international and regional politics.”