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Yeltsin Plays 'China Card' In Trip To Beijing

By ReutersAP / November 3, 1997



BEIJING

Russian President Boris Yeltsin's visit to China from Nov. 9 to 11 will include an announcement on the demarcation of the 2,580-mile disputed border between the two nation, say Chinese officials.

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Most of the long frontier, scene of armed clashes at the height of the rivalry between the two communist giants in the late 1960s, has been agreed and mapped in negotiations that started in 1992.

But questions have remained over two tiny strips of land in the eastern part of the border area, which some Russian regional leaders believe were surrendered to China at the expense of Russia's national security.

China wants to settle the locations of its borders with Russia and other former Soviet republics so that it may better combat separatist unrest in border areas. Russia wants to limit illegal crossings by Chinese traders and hunters.

Moscow and Beijing have said they are seeking a "strategic partnership" that would rule out both confrontation and forming any formal alliances.

And Russia is eager to strengthen its ties with China to counterbalance NATO's expansion and growing American influence in the world.

Jiang visited Moscow earlier this year, and the two sides signed a declaration pledging to seek a multipolar world with no dominant single force - a move clearly aimed at the United States.

During his trip, Yeltsin will also visit Harbin, capital of northeastern Heilongjiang Province that borders Russia.

The two sides also plan to sign agreements on trade issues.