Disagreement over Sino-Russian border 'merely technical': govt

By Xie Yahong in Moscow and Bai Tiantian in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2012-8-17 1:25:04

An official from Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Thursday told the Global Times that China and Russia had technical disagreements during a recent joint border survey in the Altay Mountains area, and rejected reports that said "China is claiming 17 hectares of land from Russia."

A report by RIA Novosti Monday said a dispute existed on the western section of the Sino-Russian border, as both sides dispatched working groups in June to reinvestigate the border in the area separating China's Xinjiang and the Altai Republic, a federal subject of Russia. It said the two sides had disputes over two boundary markers.

The Federal Press quoted Oksana Yeremeyeva, a press secretary from the government of the Altai Republic, as saying that China insisted that Russia change the borderline, which would result in China claiming up to 17 hectares of Russian land.

RIA Novosti said that both sides signed a memorandum and agreed to meet later this month to discuss the matter.

Ma Jianzhong, an official on foreign-related affairs in the Xinjiang government, told the Global Times that the reports were inaccurate.

"China and Russia agreed to jointly re-inspect the border once every 10 years," said Ma. "The recent inspection is part of the agreed routine."

Ma said the differences came within the inspection teams, and were merely technical in nature. He also noted that it was impossible that the dispute would claim 17 hectares of land from Russia.

"Each side uses its own set of equipment and adopts its own measurement system. Just like performing a scientific experiment, deviations are sometimes inevitable and could come from the weather, the temperature and the equipment itself."

Ma said the inspection teams left the mountain area on August 10, and both sides agreed to discuss the issue later after consulting higher levels of government.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to make a comment, and neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation nor the officer of Foreign Affairs of the Altai Republic could be reached. 

According to the Xinhua News Agency, China and Russia inked a treaty over their eastern border in 2004, which marked the end of a 40-year border negotiation between the two countries.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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