Sunday, July 20, 2008

Few islands building thousands of bridges

Just a few islands can build bridges that last forever, as proven by China and Russia today. Even islands that turn into the icy tundra for a larger part of the year.

Both are set to sign an agreement to resolve ownership of a few hundred islands on rivers shared by both countries. That should restore broken bonds after decades of disputes involving the islands, which seem typically pointless.

The rivers flow between the frozen tundra of Northeastern China and Siberia, and have been the main source of a rift between the two countries. They've even had a war over the dispute.

Basic details in the article are correct, but some historical data seems inaccurate. It implies Russia holds most of the islands -- incorrect -- many islands were handed over to China after the Soviet Union collapsed.

This seals one of the few serious issues of contention, freeing them to gang up against the US. Russia is apparently handing over some islands out of "goodwill," according to the article. If that is true, Russia will supply plenty of oil along with it. That should supplement China's growing world standing in the energy space.

By no means does this indicate that the two are now buddies however. When I saw the news first, I'm like: "this can't be real!"

Both have demonstrated expansionist ideologies; that won't change. China's squabbling with India for Arunachal and parts of Kashmir. Oh, don't forget Taiwan. Russia is gunning for parts of Georgia and if a grim situation hits the overexposed Eastern Europe, Russia will jump at any chance to gain ground. But then every country is like that.

So what should we expect through this warming of ties? For starters, the trade routes along the Sea of Japan will be freed. Russia will be able to supply oil and weapons to India more freely, with lesser Chinese supervision. China may get better access to Russian oil resources along the sea. It will also get better access to Mongolia, which holds a mostly pro-Russia stance.

When the rivers are operational, trade routes between Russia and China are now freed as well. That should boost trade between Siberia and the Chinese region of Heilongjiang.

Moreover, both countries can now peacefully negotiate a policy to subvert a somewhat confused U.S. foreign policy, which is focused on the Middle East. Don't forget that there are other places where oil exists, not just the Middle East! India gets a lot of its oil from Russia. Time for the U.S. to add another oil front to its foreign policy.


Blogger Id it is said...

'a warming up' that might raise water (tension) levels to the danger mark for some nations not so happy with the current development!

Thanks for the heads up on this agreement.

6:14 AM  

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