Libmonster ID: CN-1343
Author(s) of the publication: V. SKOSYREV

In July of this year, Russia and China signed an Agreement on good-neighborliness, Friendship and cooperation. This event was the culmination of talks between Vladimir Putin and Jiang Zemin held in the Kremlin. Both leaders did not skimp on high ratings of the document. As the Chinese president said, "the concept of the cold war has been abandoned. Our children and grandchildren will enjoy the benefits of the agreement."

The new treaty has a much better chance of standing the test of time than its predecessor.

Although the term of the agreement is set at 20 years, in a joint statement, both leaders repeated the thesis of the eternal and enduring significance of the document. "Forever friends and never enemies," the Russian President and the Chinese president proclaimed.

At the same ceremony in the Kremlin, an important aspect of the treaty's preparation was revealed: it was initiated by the Chinese side. As Putin said, the author of the idea was the Chairman of the People's Republic of China during conversations that took place during the last year's trip of the head of the Russian state to Beijing.

But before, for decades, the Chinese leadership followed a completely different attitude in relations with other countries. This attitude was that Beijing does not enter into bilateral agreements of a general political nature with anyone, without restricting freedom of action in any way. And for the sake of strengthening relations with the northern neighbor, this postulate has been discarded.

Chinese analysts I spoke with linked this change of course to the long-term economic recovery plans that the Chinese Communist Party has developed. All the efforts of the party and the state are now aimed at eliminating the gap between the industrial powers and ensuring China's smooth entry into the world economy. The country does not need any international complications, especially complications with a country like Russia, with which China has a common border of more than 4 thousand kilometers. This, in their opinion, is the background of signing the agreement.

China, the interlocutors stressed, is interested in Russia entering the path of prosperity as well. Then the thesis of a strategic partnership between the two powers, which was proclaimed by their leaders in the first half of the 90s, will be filled with real content.

DEJA VU?

And yet, when the leaders of both countries declare their eternal friendship, including in the text of the treaty, it is impossible not to recall that such high-sounding expressions have already been heard by older Russians. In the 50s

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every schoolchild here, and many in China, knew by heart the lines from the song to the music of Vano Muradeli: "the Russian and the Chinese are brothers forever."

It was not only the time of unbreakable friendship, but also the time of Stalin and Mao, the time when any serious foreign policy move by a state belonging to the "camp of peace and socialism" was sanctioned by the "leader of progressive humanity". Stalin considered it expedient to cement the emerging allied ties with China, where the Communists had just won the civil war. The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance was signed on February 14, 1950.

Provisions on mutual assistance gave the treaty the character of a military alliance. The USSR and China then committed themselves to come to the aid of a country that had been subjected to aggression by Japan and its partners (meaning the United States).

Much depended on the nature of relations between Moscow and Beijing in the Asia-Pacific region then, and much still depends today. It is therefore worth comparing the reaction of the West to the formation of the Soviet-Chinese alliance in February 1950 with the reactions to the signing of the current Russian-Chinese treaty.

Half a century ago, the US government regarded the creation of the union unequivocally: as a threat to American interests and Asian security. Moreover, following the canons of the Cold War, US Secretary of State Dean Acheson even claimed that the treaty indicates the intention of the Soviet Union to tear Xinjiang and Manchuria away from China.

Regarding these two regions of China, the Secretary of State's forecast turned out to be untenable. The USSR, as promised, withdrew its units stationed in Manchuria, returned the base in Port Arthur to China. But the military commitment set out in the treaty, as well as the massive deliveries of Soviet military equipment to China that followed the signing of the treaty, undoubtedly exacerbated the atmosphere of confrontation between the two blocs in the Far East.

Shortly after the document was signed, Stalin and Mao Zedong authorized Kim Il Sung to "liberate" the Korean South by force. At the same time, Stalin directly told the leader of the DPRK that after the PRC concluded an alliance treaty with the USSR, the Americans would be even less inclined to tease the Communists in Asia. However, this forecast was not confirmed. The Korean conflict that began in the summer of 1950 was one of the most acute in the history of the Cold War. It involved American troops and their allies, and then "Chinese volunteers". Established in 1953, the armistice line between the North and South remains to this day the most explosive boundary of the confrontation between the two systems.

A number of modern analysts overseas and in Hong Kong, as well as half a century ago, the current Russian-Chinese rapprochement has caused apprehension. For example, the weekly Far Eastern Economic Review claimed that this process was facilitated by the desire of both powers to prevent the United States from taking a dominant position in the world and to prevent them from creating a missile defense system.

The Hong Kong magazine also considers a kind of "quid pro quo" on the problem of Chechnya and Taiwan to be the background of the agreement, which provides a legal basis for the entire complex of Russian-Chinese relations.:

Beijing approves of Moscow's actions against Chechen separatists, and Moscow, in turn, expresses full understanding of Beijing's policy aimed at returning Taiwan "to the bosom of the motherland." Since Washington has stated in no uncertain terms that it will prevent Taiwan's reunification by force, objectively strengthening cooperation between Russia and China is anti-American.

And from the point of view of right-wing conservative American lawmakers and commentators, the most undesirable aspect of the development of Russian-Chinese relations is the strengthening of military-technical cooperation. Russia has already delivered to China fighter-bombers SuZOMKK and Su27, four submarines and two destroyers of the "Modern" class, equipped with anti-ship missiles "Mosquito", that is, just the kind of military equipment that can be used in the Taiwan Strait. The transfer of these weapons, especially Moskit missiles, is causing alarm in the US Congress. In the House of Representatives, a bill was even introduced proposing to subject Russia to sanctions for the supply of "Mosquitoes".

Nevertheless, official Washington took the conclusion of the treaty with philosophical calm. The Bush administration does not believe he is harming U.S. interests, White House press Secretary Ari Fleischer said. "If Russia and China have found a way for peaceful cooperation in the name of security and stability of the world, it is in the American interest," he explained.

AN ALLIANCE, BUT NOT A MILITARY ONE

As can be seen from the statements of the press secretary, American experts on Russia and China monitored the progress of the treaty's preparation,

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we analyzed its contents and came to the conclusion that it is radically different from the document signed half a century ago. Indeed, this time we are not talking about a military alliance, which involves joint actions in the event of a military danger or an emergency. The new agreement does not contain any obligations in this regard. The parties only agreed to immediately contact each other and hold consultations "in order to eliminate the threat that has arisen" (article 9).

It is characteristic that the articles of the Russian-Chinese treaty relating to the security sphere coincide with the corresponding provisions set out in the treaty concluded last year by Moscow and Pyongyang, and earlier by Moscow and New Delhi. Their content is pretty much identical. The parties undertake not to enter into any alliances or blocs and not to take any actions directed against another party to the agreement. It follows that Russian diplomacy is very consistently pursuing a policy of ensuring a stable situation in Asia under international law.

Relations with China are of high priority for Russia due to the fact that our countries share a gigantic border. The PRC is a powerful military power, a recognized member of the "nuclear club" and one of the main players in world politics.

Russia and China have pledged not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against each other, and not to target each other's nuclear missiles. Such a commitment is particularly important against the backdrop of Russia's new military doctrine, which, like Western powers, sees nuclear weapons as a last resort deterrent, capable of stopping a potential aggressor who threatens the very existence of the state. Moscow, like Washington, London and Paris, has not declared a commitment not to use nuclear weapons first.

Presumably, the Russian side, which has a more powerful nuclear missile potential, has met Beijing's concerns halfway.

STATUS QUO AT THE BORDER

The problem of territorial delimitation has a "Russian accent" in the treaty. Article six not only declares the principle of territorial inviolability and inviolability of State borders, but also emphasizes the absence of territorial claims to each other. The same article specifically explains how the border line will be defined in the sections of the border that have not yet been agreed upon in the eastern part of the border. Until the settlement, the parties will respect the status quo.

The meaning of this provision is clear in light of the long and grueling history of bilateral border negotiations. According to the treaties concluded by tsarist Russia and imperial China, the border on the Amur River ran along the Chinese coast, which means that all the islands were considered Russian. But even under N. S. Khrushchev, Moscow recognized that this was not in accordance with international law in its modern interpretation. The border should follow the main fairway. So there was a problem of islands.

The Soviet leadership sought to achieve a final settlement of the border issue. In the 60s, negotiations were initiated. However, they reached an impasse, as the Chinese side demanded to recognize that the treaties between tsarist Russia and imperial China, concluded in the XIX century and defining mainly the border line, were unfair, imposed on China by force.

In 1964, when Mao Zedong met with Japanese socialists, he voiced these claims, pointing out that Russia had torn away more than 1.5 million square kilometers of Chinese land. Even earlier, in the 50s, during the period of the highest glorification of fraternal friendship in both countries, a book was published in the PRC with a map showing all the territorial losses of China after the "opium wars". The map showed Primorye and Sakhalin, parts of Kazakhstan and the Central Asian republics of the USSR as territories captured by the imperialists.

Later, Mao Zedong's statements and other sources made it clear that the policy of escalating the situation on the border, which led to armed clashes in 1969, was largely dictated by considerations of geopolitical and ideological rivalry with the leadership of the CPSU, which Beijing considered "revisionist".

It was only in 1989 when Mikhail Gorbachev met with Deng Xiaoping, who said that it was necessary to "end the past, open up the future", that relations between the two countries could be normalized. After that, a huge amount of work was done to delineate the border on maps and demarcate it on the ground. It is completed at 98 percent of its length and is reflected in the agreements on the eastern and western sections. They were signed in the 90s.

But the agreement on the eastern section does not define the ownership of two islands on the Amur and one on the Argun. The agreement (Article 6) states that the parties "will continue negotiations to resolve issues on the passage of the line of the Russian-Chinese border on its not yet agreed sections. Until these issues are resolved, they respect the status quo." In practice, this means that the islands are still in the hands of Russia. Thus, this aspect of the treaty appears to favor the Russian side.

COMPLETE THE PAST, DISCOVER THE FUTURE

However, a number of Russian Sinologists believe that the rejection of territorial claims should be fixed in a separate border agreement.-

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tse, which would replace all previous agreements. So, Doctor of Historical Sciences Yuri Galenovich proves in his monograph "Russia and China in the XX century: the border" that Deng's formula "complete the past, open the future" is not as simple as it looks. Completing the past is a process, a work in which China will have the right to remind Russia that it is its territorial debtor.

Judging by the works of some modern Chinese historians, it is in this spirit that they interpret the Deng testament.

For example, the 2000 issue of the journal Eloi Yanjiu (Russian Studies) states that Russia pursued an expansionist course and "occupied large territories north of the Heilunts-zian River (Amur) and east of the Ussuri."

This discussion might be considered purely academic if it did not take place against the backdrop of continued Chinese immigration to neighboring regions of Russia. No one knows exactly how many Chinese people live in our country. According to Professor Wili Gelbras, there are 200-400 thousand of them. Not much, then. But there are other estimates. Recently it was reported, for example, that more than a thousand people come to the Amur region every day. Some do not return home, find work with their own compatriots, and then become naturalized.

If we recall the 20s of the XX century, then there is nothing terrible here. At that time, up to a third of the population of Vladivostok was made up of Chinese and Koreans, providing the city with vegetables, working as laundresses, peddlers. But at that time, Russia, or rather the Soviet Union, was a strong country, and China, which was experiencing turmoil, was weak. Today, the situation is exactly the opposite.

Of course, the settling of Chinese merchants, entrepreneurs, and agricultural workers in Primorye and neighboring regions is not without the assistance of "well-disposed" Russian officials. The dodgers benefit from the lack of a law on the legal status of foreigners and other gaps in the legislation. So it would be ridiculous to blame the Chinese alone for successfully overcoming border and other administrative barriers.

All this is happening against the backdrop of a glaring demographic imbalance: vast, sparsely populated, but rich in minerals and forest areas of our Far East and Eastern Siberia are adjacent to a giant power that is experiencing a growing shortage of natural resources.

Article 20 of the treaty provides for cooperation between the parties in the fight against illegal immigration. This is an important commitment from Russia's point of view. The question is whether it will be implemented or remain on paper.

PROSPECTS FOR COOPERATION

Despite the declarative nature of a number of articles, the new document meets the needs of the two peoples, their desire to live as good neighbors and strengthen international stability. Unlike the alliance concluded half a century ago with the blessing of Stalin and Mao, the new treaty is devoid of ideological background and does not aim to form a military bloc. The main goal of Moscow and Beijing this time is much more pragmatic - to ensure that disputes are resolved by peaceful means, to ensure the national security interests of both countries in the new emerging world order, and to promote the creation of a multipolar architecture of international relations.

The agreement reinforces a trend that has developed in recent years to deepen the atmosphere of mutual trust in relations between Moscow and Beijing, which have long been marred by suspicion and hostility. Having secured a solid rear in the north of the country, the Chinese leadership has the opportunity to deal more freely with Taiwan and other problems in the south-eastern and eastern directions.

Now there are opportunities to use the potential of trade and economic cooperation, which lags far behind China's ties with the West.

The signed contracts, primarily in the military-technical field, will provide Russians with thousands of jobs, including in the Far East. So, now the aviation and industrial association in Komsomolsk-on-Amur is fulfilling an order for 40 fighters for the Chinese Air Force. In July, a new contract was signed, which, according to experts, deals with the supply of 38 UZOMKK worth two billion dollars.

There have also been some changes in the civil sectors, especially in the energy sector. Gazprom has been invited to participate in the tender for a contract for laying a gas pipeline from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to Shanghai, which will supply 20 billion cubic meters of gas per year. It is planned to supply 10 Tu-204 aircraft manufactured by Aviastar Ulyanovsk to China, and the possibility of selling a more powerful Tu-214 model manufactured by the Kazan Aviation Production Association (KAPO) is being considered. Both the Tu-204 and Tu-214 are "very similar to the Boeing 757 ,but they are significantly cheaper," said a representative of the Chinese state-owned company for the import of civil aircraft.


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