Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 85

A Russian deputy foreign minister yesterday described the general purpose agreement on confidence-building in the border region — signed April 26 by the leaders of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan — as a de facto non-aggression pact. The agreement will lay the "basis for the creation of a security mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region," Alexander Panov said. Panov suggested that a treaty on troop reductions along the border would be the next step for signatories to the agreement. He also dismissed protests in the Russian Far East over Chinese immigration and the demarcation of the border as non-issues incapable of derailing Russo-Chinese friendship. "Nor we do we see any other problems that could obstruct our cooperation," he said. (Interfax & Itar-Tass, April 30)

But the Foreign Ministry’s sanguineness did not deter Yevgeny Nazdratenko, the outspoken governor of Russia’s Maritime Krai who has spearheaded opposition to the border agreement. During an April 29 interview on a local radio station, Nazdratenko continued to make border demarcation an issue when he said that he had found talks on that subject in China to be "morally difficult." Nazdratenko was part of the delegation that accompanied Boris Yeltsin to China. Nazdratenko declared that Russia had not signed over any territory to China during the talks in Beijing and Shanghai, and he thanked those Ussuri Cossacks who had threatened to protest at newly established border posts. (Interfax, April 30)

Russian Diplomacy: Looking for a Few Good Roles.