China, Tajikistan sign border agreement

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 13, 2011 13:20

 
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BEIJING — China hailed a new border treaty with Tajikistan on Thursday, praising the resolution of a dispute that dates to the 19th century.

Leaders in the Central Asian nation have also trumpeted the treaty, saying they ceded far less than land than China had wanted. On Wednesday, Parliament voted to turn over 380 square miles (1,000 square kilometers) of territory in the sparsely populated Pamir Mountains region. There was no immediate information on how many people live in the territory.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed that the neighbors had signed a treaty, "thus thoroughly resolving the boundary issue left over from history."

Hong gave no further details.

The dispute dates to the 19th century, when Tajikistan was part of czarist Russia. Tajikistan's foreign minister, Khamrokon Zarifi, said China had initially claimed more than 11,000 square miles (28,000 square kilometers). But opposition leader Mukhiddin Kabiri called the land transfer unconstitutional and said it represents a defeat for Tajik diplomacy.

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