China Claims Vladivostok – UPSC GS1

When Vladivostok, the main city of the Russian Far East, marked the 160th anniversary of its founding, it resulted in a wave of abuse from Chinese social media users who claimed that the city historically belonged to China.
The Vladivostok City
  • Vladivostok is a city and the administrative centre of the Far Eastern Federal District and Primorsky Krai, Russia.
  • It is located around the Golden Horn Bay, not far from Russia’s borders with China and North Korea.

Chinese claims on Vladivostok
  • 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.
  • 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, Vladivostok harbour was named Port May by the British.
Russia occupied the territory
  • 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.
  • According to Chinese claims, this region once formed ‘Outer Manchuria’. The term ‘Outer Manchuria’ was coined by China in an attempt to lend credence to their territorial claims over this region, according to analysts.
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