Russians withdraw from disputed border

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 July, 2008, 12:00am

Russia's military has withdrawn from a once-disputed border zone with China and Moscow will hand the area back to its Asian neighbour in August under an agreement signed nearly four years ago.

The frontier posts - the Tarabarov and part of the Bolshoy Ussuriyskiy islands - are located at the confluence of the Amur and the Ussuri rivers not far from Khabarovsk near the Chinese border.

'Frontier checkpoints on the islands have been moved to a different location, where border guards will relocate in August,' General Valery Putov, head of the Federal Security Service's far east department, told China News Service.

'A 10km section of the border near Khabarovsk has been fitted out with alarm systems, video surveillance cameras and thermal-imaging devices,' he said.

The handover deal was settled in October 2004 during a visit to Beijing by former president Vladimir Putin. Under the accord that defines 2 per cent of the 4,300km border that had been in dispute for centuries, Russia agreed to surrender about 380 sq km in Siberia and its far east to Chinese sovereignty.

China will take control of Tarabarov and part of Bolshoy Ussuriyskiy from next month, while only a frontier guard post and a civilian settlement will remain on the Russian side.