“China has claimed some part of Russian territory” yes, this was the hot topic in recent days. If it is correct than ‘who has made these claims, why is it claimed, what is the reason behind these claims and what is the historical background, lets find out.
In the last few days, we saw the news in some newspapers that China has claimed some areas of Russia. But in this news, there are many such things which need to be known and hence it is also important to understand it with better sources. It is not that the things said in the newspapers are wrong, but they are not so straightforward.
Let’s first see the geographical condition with the help of a map. According to the first map the far eastern region of Russia is located one of its most important states called, ‘Primorsky Krai’. The capital of this state is ‘Vladivostok’. Vladivostok means ‘King of the East’. The city was founded on 2 July 1860. The population of this city is around 6 million. It is a developed city with a vibrant culture. The biggest importance of this city is that it gives direct access to Russia to reach the Pacific Ocean. Almost all the trade of east Russia depends on this port, for the last 150 years Russia has been trading on this port. This city shares a border with china and North Korea and that’s why this city is equally important from a strategic point of view. The Russian fleet is also located here, rather it is the home base of the entire Russian Marine Fleet.
You may be wondering why Russia’s maritime trade is dependent only on the city of Vladivostok, despite such a large coastal area in Primorsky Krai. Actually the population of the state is very small. Most of its area is surrounded by dense forests. In the winter season, these areas are completely frozen. Not only the Primorsky Krai but also the coastline of Khabarovsk also freezes up. Sometimes the port of Vladivostok city also freezes, but still It is possible to trade most part of the year.
The truth of China’s claim over Vladivostok
Recently, on the occasion of the foundation day anniversary of the city, the official twitter handle of Russia has tweeted and given a message that 160 years have been completed and a video was also sent along with the message which has some drone shots of the city of Vladivostok. A similar message was also given by the Russian embassy of India and China. In China, the use of twitter is banned, instead there is a trend of a web site named ‘Sina Weibo’. And through this site, the same message was given in Chinese language.
But many people in China objected to this message of the Russian Embassy. The objection was raised not only by the common people but also the big officials and diplomats based in the government. One of China’s most senior journalists of ‘CGTN channel’ who is also a producer of the channel ‘Shen Shiwei’, ‘ tweeted this in response and said that “we don’t welcome it at all because historically The city of Vladivostok has been part of China. And the historical name of this city is ‘Haishenwai‘ and due to an unequal treaty, this city was taken away from us.” By such tweets Russia is embarrassing China. CGTN is a government news channel that operates at the behest of the government. That means without an official consent no news can be shown because there is absolutely no freedom to speak against the government in China.
Now it is to be noted here that China has claimed that the city of Vladivostok is a part of China. As the CGTN is an official news channel and China cannot say it directly, therefore it has resorted to the news channel. And the same message was also given by all the chinese diplomats across the world. Several senior government officials also tweeted, but China did not say anything directly.
When this matter started catching up with such messages by evening, ‘Shane Shiwei’ tweeted that the Indian media is distorting it unnecessarily. We have not made any claim that ‘Vladivostok is part of us or we want that back’. We have only said that we have some embarrassing memories that this city was taken away from us.
Background of chinese claims
Now let’s understand what is the history behind snatching this city. In fact, the Primorsky Krai kingdom was under the ‘Qing Dynasty’. The Qing Empire was established in 1636. The Qing kingdom was mainly from Manchuria, which is why the people here are also called ‘Manchus’. On 1644, Manchus took possession of China. When China was going through its worst phase, which we also know as China’s Century of Humiliation, the Second Opium War broke out between 1856 – 1860, in which France and the UK together defeated China badly. This battle was mainly fought on the southern coast of China and at the same time the Czar of Russia sent his army across the border of Manchuria and also threatened to fight either on both sides or Hand over the area of outer Manchuria. Till that time, the Qing Empire was so weak that it agreed to sign the ‘Treaty of Peking‘ with Russia. In this way, the land of 6 lac square kilometres came under Russian occupation without any war.
According to the above map, the pink border line between Russia and China is the old border line of Russia and the black border line is the current boundary line which has become after occupying 6 lac square kilometres of land. So, where China is claiming to be the Haishenwai , Russia have established Vladivostok on the same place. Earlier there used to be a small village of fishermen, later Russia developed it. Even at that time the population of the long coastal area was very less. Russia has got a treasure like because Russia has discovered so many minerals like boron, gold, silver, tungsten, lead, zinc, tin, coal mines and many other minerals which have been found here. Obviously China must be jealous of all this and besides this there is a historical and emotional reason.
There was another fight between the army of China and Russia on the border issue. After this, the two had settled the boundary dispute and in 2008, they also signed the treaty. But during all the negotiation there has never been any dispute about Vladivostok and no claims have been made on it. Yes, there was definitely some dispute over some of the islands of the Ussuri river flowing between the border of the two countries but there was no direct or indirect dispute over the city of Vladivostok.
Facts and Reason Behind the Action
So of course it was under China before 1860 but it is also true that the population in this entire 6 lac square kilometre was not much, it has been settled by Russia. Most of its area was surrounded by dense forests. Even today, the population of the entire Primorsky Kry is not even 20 lac, out of which the population of 6 lac is only in Vladivostok. In 1969.
So China has never officially made any claim to the city of Vladivostok, it is just a maneuver to pressurize Russia. Now that the border dispute of both countries has been resolved, then why the spark that suddenly claims this? Actually, this is because Russia is helping India militarily. Russia appears to be helping India amid the border dispute between India and China. As Russia will never want China to become so powerful in the future that it cannot control it. Russia has seen the aggression of China in the Sino-Soviet war, where China was about to use the nuclear weapons against Russia. So Russia’s long-term thinking will be to help India and maintain a balance between India and China, because Russia does not face any danger from India because India and Russia do not share boundaries from anywhere. But with China it has a 4200 kilometres less long border and if there is any dispute over the border in future, then the matter can reach war directly.
So China has definitely tried to provoke a kind of spark in response to Russia.