Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 82

One day after the presidents of Russia and China issued a joint declaration on international relations (see Monitor, April 24), they were joined in Moscow yesterday by the presidents of Kazakstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan for the signing of a treaty on troop reductions along the former Soviet-Chinese border. Moscow portrayed the treaty — which has been under negotiation for some seven years and is still to be ratified by the signatories — as a diplomatic solution to "delicate national security issues" preferable to the "building up of troops and expanding of military blocks" — a clear swipe at NATO’s enlargement plans. Few details of the treaty have been made public, but Russian government officials suggest it would limit land forces, short-range aviation, and anti-aircraft defenses in a 100-kilometer strip along the more than 7,000 kilometer border. (Reuter, Itar-Tass, April 24)

In separate meetings with Chinese president Jiang Zemin yesterday, Presidents Nursultan Nazarbaev of Kazakstan and Askar Akaev of Kyrgyzstan were cited as condemning "ethnic separatism" in China and expressing readiness to cooperate with Beijing against such occurrences on either side of the border. Jiang welcomed his counterparts’ stand. (Xinhua, April 24) The reference is to the growing Uighur irredentist movement in China’s Xinjiang region. Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan have Uighur minorities and harbor some Uighur refugees from Xinjiang.

Balts Urge Continuing NATO Enlargement after Madrid.