Explained: Why 160-year-old Vladivostok has a Chinese connection

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[Reading level: C1 – Advanced]

When Vladivostok, the main city of the Russian Far East, marked the 160th anniversary of its founding on July 2, it resulted in a wave of abuse from Chinese social media users across various platforms who claimed that the territory of Primorsky Krai, of which Vladivostok is the administrative capital, historically belonged to China.

 

While these claims were not officially endorsed by China’s foreign ministry, they come at a time when the country has been particularly aggressive in the context of its territorial disputes in the region. At present, China is embroiled in fresh disputes involving Bhutan, in addition to its ongoing territorial disputes involving India, Tibet and the South China Sea.

 

Before Primorsky Krai became Russian territory in 1860, it was a relatively small Manchu settlement under the sovereignty of the Qing dynasty. At that time, Vladivostok was called Haishenwei or the Bay of Sea Slugs.

 

Artyom Lukin, Deputy Director for Research, School of Regional and International Studies, Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, explains that during the First Opium War that occurred between September 1839 and August 1842, fought between Britain and the Qing Dynasty, the former began exploring and mapping this stretch of the coast. During that time, Lukin says the Vladivostok harbour was named Port May by the British.

 

In discussions concerning the Opium Wars, the focus is mostly on Britain, France and China under the Qing dynasty, while Russia is often neglected. However, it is because of its unique role, particularly during the Second Opium War, that Russia acquired a significant amount of former Manchu territory, including Vladivostok that is its largest port on the Pacific coast.

 

The south eastern part of Russia, that borders North Korea and China, has historically been a bone of contention between Russia and China, in part because of China’s claims that this region once formed ‘Outer Manchuria’. Some researchers believe that the term ‘Outer Manchuria’ was coined by China in an attempt to lend credence to their territorial claims over this region.

 

The south eastern part of Russia has historically been a bone of contention between Russia and China, in part because of China’s claims that this region once formed ‘Outer Manchuria’. – Phần đông nam của Nga trong lịch sử là một vấn đề tranh chấp giữa Nga và Trung Quốc, một phần là do Trung Quốc tuyên bố rằng khu vực này đã từng hình thành vùng ‘Ngoại Mãn Châu’.

The first territorial disputes between China and Russia can be traced to the 1600s when Russia encouraged its people to settle down in the region. By 1680, however, China took over control of this region, that eventually led to the signing of the Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689 between the Qing Dynasty and Russia. Under the terms of the treaty, Russia agreed to give up its claims to this area.

 

Although Russia had given up this territory to the Qing dynasty, it had by no means forgotten its interests in the area. The right time to strike would come 167 years later, with the start of the Second Opium War in 1856. Having been battered by British and French during this war, China learned of Russia’s strategic build-up of military presence on its shared northern border. Russia was only willing to withdraw troops if China were to cede territory along this border.

 

Facing potential attacks by Russia from the north and the onslaught of British and French forces on the south, the Qing dynasty was compelled to comply with Russia demands to stave off invasion on at least one front. This led to the signing of the Treaty of Aigun in 1858, that formed much of the present day borders between Russia and China, along the Amur River.

 

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-160-year-old-vladivostok-has-a-chinese-connection-6493278/

WORD BANK:

territory /ˈter.ɪ.tər.i/ [B2] (n): vùng lãnh thổ

endorse /ɪnˈdɔːs/ [C2] (v): xác nhận, chứng thực, ủng hộ

dispute /dɪˈspjuːt/ [C2] (v, n): tranh chấp

be embroiled in sth /ɪmˈbrɔɪld/ (v): bị lôi kéo vào chuyện gì

ongoing /ˈɒŋˌɡəʊ.ɪŋ/ [C2] (adj): đang diễn ra

settlement /ˈset.əl.mənt/ (n): khu định cư

sovereignty /ˈsɒv.rɪn.ti/ (n): chủ quyền

dynasty /ˈdɪn.ə.sti/ (n): triều đại

opium /ˈəʊ.pi.əm/ (n): thuốc phiện

the former /ˈfɔː.mər/ [B2] (pronoun): đối tượng được nhắc đến trước

stretch /stretʃ/ [C1] (n): dải đất

former /ˈfɔː.mər/ [B1] (adj): trước đây

a bone of contention /kənˈten.ʃən/ (n): vấn đề bất đồng

coin /kɔɪn/ [C2] (v): phát minh ra một thuật ngữ

credence /ˈkriː.dəns/ (n): uy tín

territorial claim /ˌter.ɪˈtɔː.ri.əl kleɪm/ (n): yêu sách lãnh thổ

settle down /ˈset.əl/ [B2] (v): định cư

treaty /ˈtriː.ti/ [C2] (n): hiệp ước

strike  /straɪk/ (v): tấn công

batter /ˈbæt.ər/ (v): vùi dập

cede /siːd/ (v): nhượng lại

onslaught /ˈɒn.slɔːt/ (n): cuộc tấn công dữ dội

be compelled to do sth /kəmˈpeld/ (v): bị buộc phải làm gì

comply with sth /kəmˈplaɪ/ [C1] (v): tuân thủ cái gì

stave off sb/sth /steɪv/ (v): ngăn chặn ai/cái gì


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