Beijing: China, which has a land area of
about 9.6 million sq km, the third-largest country in the
world, will get 1,000 sq km more, thanks to Tajikistan which
today agreed to cede a 130-year-long disputed territory to the
neighbouring Communist giant.
The Majlisi Namoyandagon, Tajikistan's lower chamber of
Parliament, ratified a protocol on demarcation of
Tajikistan's common border with China.
This was decided at a regular sitting of the second
session of the Majlisi Namoyandagon, presided over by its
speaker Shukurjon Zuhurov, Tajikistan's news agency Asiaplus
The protocol that was presented by Foreign Minister
Hamrokhon Zarifi caused lively discussions, it said.
Zarifi noted that ratification of the protocol was an
important political event and would promote further expansion
of Tajikistan's ties with China.
According to him, territorial dispute at first between
the Tsarist Russia and China, then between the Soviet Union
and China and later between sovereign Tajikistan and China
over some 28,500 square kilometers in the Pamirs rose in the
second half of the 19th century.
"These disputable territories are nearly 20 per cent of
Tajikistan's territory, while under the protocol, only 1,000
square kilometres, or 3 per cent of the disputable
territories, are ceded to China," the minister said, claiming
"victory" for Tajik diplomacy.
"I consider that signing of this protocol is the victory
of Tajik diplomacy," the report quoted Zarifi as saying.
However, leader of the Islamic Revival Party (IRP)
Muhiddin Kabiri said that ratification of that document
contradicted the country's Constitution.
"Article 7 of the Constitution says the territory of
Tajikistan is inseparable and inviolable," said Kabiri.
"Under the protocol, 1000 square kilometers of our
territory will be ceded to China and it is the defeat of Tajik
diplomacy," the MP said. The leader of the Communist Party of Tajikistan (CPT)
Shodi Shabdolov, for his part, noted that the main mistake of
the Tajik government was non-transparency of the protocol on
the boundary issue with China.
"Nobody had reliable information and many rumours were
in society that allegedly a huge part of Tajik territory will
be ceded to China," said Shabdolov.
The CPT leader noted that ratification of the protocol
would put an end to almost 130-year territorial dispute
between Tajikistan and China.
At the time of independence, portions of the Tajik
boundary with China were not defined. This boundary dispute
was settled in agreements signed in 2002 that ceded 1,000
square kilometers of Pamir mountain range to China in return
for China relinquishing claims over 28,000 square kilometers
of Tajik lands, the report said.
China also has territorial disputes with its other
neighbours like India and Japan.
Located in East Asia, on the western shore of the
Pacific Ocean, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has a land
area of about 9.6 million sq km, and is the third-largest
country in the world, next only to Russia and Canada,
according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry website.
First Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 19:32