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Monday 19 Feb 2018 | 13:06 | SYDNEY
Monday 19 Feb 2018 | 13:06 | SYDNEY

China's borders



6 January 2009 12:26

For the last few years, I have been keeping an eye on China’s border diplomacy as China seeks to resolve many of its long-standing border disputes.

While I was away from my desk for the new year break, China’s border diplomacy took a step forward, as it appears China and Vietnam have reached agreement on their disputed land border (though not their disputed maritime border).

Alas, China’s border diplomacy, and its place in China’s larger foreign policy concept of a 'Harmonious World', also took a step back recently, as Japan has filed an official protest with China, claiming China is breaking the agreement it recently signed with Japan over the exploitation of resources in disputed areas of the East China Sea*. China, of course, begs to differ.

These recent border moves reaffirm two observations about China’s border diplomacy: 1) It seems easier to reach agreement on land borders than maritime ones; and 2) It is easier to reach deals with Communist or ex-Communist neighbours (Vietnam, Russia) than with non-Communist ones (Japan and India).

*Ed. Note: I blogged approvingly of this deal when it was announced.

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