Monday, January 18, 2021

FACT CHECK: Has China Really Claimed The Russian Port City Of Vladivostok?

Has China claimed the Russian port city of Vladivostok? Media outlets in India have lambasted China for its relentless expansionist policies especially after the India-China border clash at Galwan Valley.

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The latest expansion claims are targetted at the Russian city of Vladivostok. Chinese diplomats, journalists and nationalists took to the internet to assert claims over the Russia city of Vladivostok formerly part of the Qing dynasty, a news extensively covered by Indian media outlets.

The backlash started after the Russian embassy took to Weibo to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the founding of the city, whose name means “ruler of the east” in Russian.

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Reacting to the Russian embassy’s message, Shen Shiwei, a journalist working with the state-owned broadcaster CGTN, took to Twitter to remind the world that Vladivostok was once a part of China.

Zhang Heqing, a Chinese diplomat working in the embassy in Pakistan, also commented “isn’t this what in the past was our Haishenwai?”, referring to the Chinese name for the area before its annexation.

Indian media was quick to react to the Chinese claims and blasted Beijing for having an insatiable appetite for territory.

Wion TV stated that China dismisses treaties that don’t suit it and mentioned its territorial disputes with 20 countries including Russian, India, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia Indonesia, South Korea, North Korea etc.

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Times Now, one of the biggest Indian media outlets also published an article talking about Chinese expansionism in Russia, Nepal and Bhutan.

The Russian government offered no response to the comments made online by Chinese nationals and it will be interesting to see how Moscow reacts. While both countries currently enjoy friendly relations, they have clashed over territorial disputes in the past.

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In 1969, erstwhile USSR and China almost went to war after Peoples Liberation Army troops ambushed Soviet border guards on Zhenbao Island.

Historically, Vladivostok once used to be part of China’s Qing dynasty and was known as Haishenwai. It was annexed by the Russian empire in 1860 after China’s defeat by the British and the French in the Second Opium war. Since then, it has been administered by Russia and is the capital of Primorsky Krai.

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