On May 26, Le Monde’s Beijing correspondent Frédéric Lemaître and Moscow correspondent Benoît Vitkine jointly wrote an article saying that in the past few days, a topic of great interest to Chinese netizens is about China It is possible to use the Russian port of Vladivostok for North-South shipments from June 1.
The General Administration of Customs of the Communist Party of China announced on May 4 that it agreed to increase the port of Vladivostok (Vladivostok) in Russia as a cross-border transport of domestic trade goods on the basis of the original business scope of cross-border transport of domestic trade goods in Jilin Province. Transit ports will be implemented from June 1, 2023. Since then, future trade activities in Vladivostok not only save time on the road, but also reduce the logistics cost of transporting bulk goods in the Northeast to the south, and there is no need to pay customs duties.
Faced with Economic Sanctions, Russia Has to Turn Its Eyes to the East
In fact, according to China Customs, as early as 16 years ago, in 2007, the Chinese Communist Party authorities had allowed Heilongjiang to carry out international transit business through overseas ports such as the Russian Vladivostok Port (Vladivostok Port).
China Daily said on May 16 that by opening the port of Vladivostok, “China and Russia will be able to cooperate more in port construction and logistics development, thereby promoting the vitality of Northeast China and the development of the Russian Far East.”
The Russian media and officials have shown great caution against such a high profile of the CCP authorities. On May 15, Russia’s official TASS news agency published a mysterious telegram, which quoted the local customs chief as saying: “China allows its goods to transit through the port of Vladivostok.”
Two correspondents of Le Monde said in the article that in recent years, Russia has been seeking to attract Japanese and South Korean investors to revive the economy of Vladivostok, but it has not been very effective. Although Vladivostok has historical disputes, Moscow seems to be It can only bet on China‘s side.
Since the Russo-Ukrainian War, under the severe sanctions of Western countries, Russia can not even use the international funds clearing system (SWIFT) for settlement. Russia has no choice but to turn its attention to China and increase its trade with China.
In 2022, the Sino-Russian trade volume will increase significantly, and the capacity of container ships from the southeastern coastal ports of China to the Port of Vladivostok (Vladivostok Port) will increase, and the capacity of ships to carry cargo on the return journey will increase. In one year, Sino-Russian trade increased by 29.3%, reaching a record high of 190.271 billion US dollars.
In the first half of this year, the surge in Sino-Russian trade continued unabated. The latest foreign trade data in April showed that China‘s exports to Russia increased by 153% year-on-year.
Under this opportunity, in September 2022, Jilin Hunchun Shipping Bureau applied for adding Vladivostok Port (Vladivostok Port) as a transit port for cross-border transportation of domestic trade goods, and adding two ports in Zhejiang as cross-border transportation of domestic trade goods Port of entry.
Scholars: The possibility of Vladivostok returning to China is zero
In the eyes of the Chinese, Vladivostok is the land cut off by Russia, one of the great powers, and it is a historical pain for the Chinese.
Zhang Xin, deputy director of the Russian Studies Center of East China Normal University, said in an interview with the BBC that regarding the issue of Vladivostok, “Some media and social media have used the whole incident as if Russia has made major concessions against the background of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and even some The headline said that Russia took the initiative to open Vladivostok to China, which has been closed for more than 100 years, I think this kind of understanding is not appropriate.”
Zhang Xin believes that in the face of conflicts in the west, Putin will definitely promote what he calls an eastward strategy. But not all sides took the initiative to make major concessions. He said that the reaction on social media reflects the historical complex of some Chinese people towards the city of Vladivostok.
Zhang Xin said, “As for Russia further ceding Vladivostok, including the garrison, or even returning to China as some netizens said, I think the possibility is zero in reality.”
The pronunciation of “Vladivostok” comes from the Manchu language, which means “a small fishing village by the sea”. With an area of about 700 square kilometers, Vladivostok is a world-famous city on the shore of the Pacific Ocean and is now the second largest city in the Russian Far East.
In 1860, the Qing government was forced to sign the “Beijing Treaty”, recognizing the validity of the “Aigun Treaty”, and assigned 400,000 square kilometers of land including Vladivostok to the Tsarist Russian Empire, and renamed it Vladivostok, which means “Rule the East”.
The cession of Vladivostok is seen as part of China‘s century-old history of humiliation since the Opium War in 1840. Since then, northern China‘s Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces have no outlets to the sea, and goods must travel more than 1,000 kilometers overland to reach ports in Liaoning in the south.
After World War II, as a victorious country, the government of the Republic of China actively demanded the recovery of “Vladivostok”. In August 1945, when the “Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance” was signed, Chiang Kai-shek sent representatives Song Ziwen and Chiang Ching-kuo to ask Stalin to take back the sovereignty of Dalian, Vladivostok, Sakhalin and other places.
After intense negotiations, the two sides finally reached the “Sino-Soviet Joining Treaty.” The Soviet Union agreed to China (Republic of China) taking back Dalian, Lushun and Manchuria Railways (1946), and reached an agreement that China would take back Vladivostok 50 years later. The treaty stipulates that China will not only resume the garrison of Mongolia in 1950, but also allow China to implement conditional referendums in Mongolia.
After the CCP came to power, it announced that it would not recognize all the unequal treaties signed by the Qing Dynasty. However, in the three years of 1991, 2001, and 2004, the then General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Jiang Zemin, signed agreements with Russia several times, finally determining the Sino-Russian border line of more than 4,300 kilometers, and permanently recognizing Vladivostok and the adjacent Far East. for Russian territory.