Tajikistan ratifies border agreement with China

08:45, January 14, 2011      

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Tajikistan's lower house of parliament ratified an agreement Wednesday that was signed with China in 2002 for resolving a century-old border dispute, Reuters reported.

Under the agreement, China gains control over an area of 1,000 square kilometers, about 3.5 percent of the disputed 28,500-square-kilometer land that had been under discussion.

Tajikistan took control of the land after independence in 1991 but China had never accepted the ruling, according to China News Service.

The two nations signed the border treaty in 1999, and added an amendment to it three years later, thus establishing a joint committee for demarcation, the agency said.

During a visit to Beijing in May 2002, Tajik President Emomalii Rahmon agreed with the amendment that allows China to take over 1,000 square kilometers of the disputed land.

The two sides then carried out two demarcation works in 2006 and 2008, building 101 border stones.

Hong Lei, a spokesman of China's Foreign Ministry, said Thursday the deal thoroughly resolved "a historical boundary issue," the AP reported.

The dispute was resolved "according to universally recognized norms of international law through equal consultations," Hong said, without advancing more details.

Tajik Foreign Minister Khamrokhon Zarifi hailed the ratification of the agreement as "a great victory for Tajik diplomacy," Reuters reported.

"This is an important political event and will promote further expansion of Tajikistan's ties with China," the Times of India quoted Zarifi as saying.

However, some Tajik officials voiced opposition to the agreement, saying it contradicted the country's constitution that states the territory of Tajikistan is inseparable and inviolable, the Times of India reported.

Sun Wenbin, a press officer of the Chinese embassy in Dushanbe, told the Global Times that the disputed land is in the sparsely populated Pamir Mountains.

"We don't know how many people are living in the area and how they will be resettled," he said.

As the Global Times went to press, the Tajik embassy in Beijing had not commented on the issue.

By Yu Miao, Global Times
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