Sino-Soviet border conflict

The Sino-Soviet border conflict was a seven-month undeclared military conflict between the Soviet Union and China at the height of the Sino-Soviet split in 1969. The Soviet Union launched an invasion of China in March 1969, annexing the disputed areas in the Argun and Amur rivers. Although military clashes ceased that year (with China relinquishing territory), the underlying issues were not resolved until the 1991 Sino-Soviet Border Agreement.

The most serious of these border clashes, which brought the world's two largest communist states to the brink of war, occurred in March 1969 in the vicinity of Zhenbao (Damansky) Island on the Ussuri (Wusuli) River. Chinese historians usually refer to the conflict as the Zhenbao Island Incident.[8]

Sino-Soviet border conflict
Part of the Cold War and the Sino-Soviet split
China USSR E 88

Disputed areas in the Argun and Amur rivers. Damansky/Zhenbao is to the south-east, north of the lake
Date2 March – 11 September 1969
Border between China and the Soviet Union
Result Status quo ante bellum[1]
Dispute was resolved in a series of border agreements that Russia and China concluded in 1991, 1994 and 2004, as a result of which China received several hundred islands on the Argun, Amur, and Ussuri rivers, including Damansky (Zhenbao), Tarabarov (Yinlong) and approximately 50% of Bolshoy Ussuriysky Island (Heixiazi Island) near Khabarovsk.[2]
 Soviet Union  China
Commanders and leaders
Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev China Mao Zedong
658,002 814,001
Casualties and losses
60 killed
95 wounded
(Soviet sources)[3]
27 Tanks/APCs destroyed
(Chinese sources)[4]
1 Command Car
(Chinese sources)[5]
Dozens of trucks destroyed
(Chinese sources)[6]
One Soviet T-62 tank captured[1]
72 killed and 68 wounded
(Chinese sources)
200~800 killed[7]
(Soviet sources)[3]



Under the governorship of Sheng Shicai (1933–1944) in northwest China's Xinjiang (then Sinkiang) province, China's nationalist Kuomintang recognized for the first time the existence of a "Uyghur people", following Soviet ethnic policy. This ethnogenesis of a "national" people eligible for territorialized autonomy broadly benefited the Soviet Union, which organized conferences in Fergana and Semirechye (in Soviet Central Asia), in order to cause "revolution" in Altishahr (southern Xinjiang) and Dzungaria (northern Xinjiang).[9] Both the Soviet Union and the White movement covertly armed and fought with the Ili National Army which fought against the Kuomintang in the Three Districts Revolution. Although the mostly Muslim Uyghur rebels participated in pogroms against Han Chinese in general, the turmoil eventually just resulted in the replacement of Kuomintang rule in Xinjiang (northwest China) with that of the Communist Party of China in the 1940s.[10]

Soviet historiography and more specifically Soviet "Uyghur Studies" were politicized in increasing measure to match the tenor of the Sino-Soviet split from the 1960s and 1970s. One Soviet Turkologist named Tursun Rakhminov, who worked for the CPSU, argued that it was the modern Uyghurs who founded the ancient Toquz Oghuz Country (744–840), the Kara-Khanid Khanate (840–1212), and so forth. These premodern states' wars against Chinese dynasties were cast as struggles for national liberation by the Uyghur ethnic group. Soviet historiography was not consistent on these questions: when Sino-Soviet relations were warmer, for example, the Three Districts Revolution was portrayed by Soviet historians as part of the greater Chinese anti-Kuomintang revolution, and not an anti-Chinese bid for national liberation. The Soviet Union also encouraged migration of Uyghurs to its territory in Kazakhstan along the 4,380 km (2,738 mi) border. In May 1962, 60,000 ethnic Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang Province crossed the frontier into the Soviet Union, fleeing the desperate economic conditions.[11]

Sino-Soviet border conflict
Zhenbao island
Zhenbao Island and the border.
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese中蘇邊界衝突
Simplified Chinese中苏边界冲突
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese珍寶島自衛反擊戰
Simplified Chinese珍宝岛自卫反击战
Literal meaningZhenbao Island self-defense
Russian name
RussianПограничный конфликт на острове Даманский
RomanizationPograničnyj konflikt na ostrove Damanskij

Amid heightening tensions, the Soviet Union and China began border talks. In spite of the fact that the Soviet Union had granted all of the territory of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo to Mao's communists in 1945, decisively assisting the communists in the Chinese Civil War, the Chinese now indirectly demanded territorial concessions on the basis that the 19th-century treaties transferring ownership of the sparsely populated Outer Manchuria, concluded by Qing dynasty China and the Russian Empire, were "unequal", and amounted to annexation of rightful Chinese territory. Moscow would not accept this interpretation, but by 1964 the two sides did reach a preliminary agreement on the eastern section of the border, including Zhenbao Island, which would be handed over to China.

In July 1964, Mao Zedong, in a meeting with a Japanese socialist delegation, stated that Russia had stripped China of vast territories in Siberia and the Far East as far as Kamchatka. Mao stated that China still had not presented a bill for this list. These comments were leaked to the public. Outraged, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev then refused to approve the border agreement.


The border dispute in the west centered on 52,000 square kilometres (20,000 sq mi) of Soviet-controlled land in the Pamirs that lay on the border of China's Xinjiang region with the Soviet Republic of Tajikistan. In 1892 the Russian Empire and the Qing Dynasty had agreed that the border would consist of the ridge of the Sarikol Range, but the exact border remained contentious throughout the 20th century. In the 1960s the Chinese began to insist that the Soviet Union should evacuate the region.

From around 1900 – after the Treaty of Peking (1860) had assigned Outer Manchuria to Russia – the eastern part of the Sino-Soviet border had mainly been demarcated by three rivers, the Argun River from the tripartite junction with Mongolia to the north tip of China, running southwest to northeast, then the Amur River to Khabarovsk from northwest to southeast, where it was joined by Ussuri River running south to north. The Ussuri River was demarcated in a non-conventional manner: the demarcation line ran along the right (Chinese) side of the river, putting the river itself with all its islands in Russian possession. ("The modern method (used for the past 200 years) of demarcating a river boundary between states today is to set the boundary at either the median line (ligne médiane) of the river or around the area most suitable for navigation under what is known as the 'thalweg principle.'")[12]

China claimed these islands, as they were located on the Chinese side of the river (if demarcated according to international rule using shipping lanes). The USSR wanted (and by then, already effectively controlled) almost every single island along the rivers.

Chinese and Soviet government views

Both sides understood that the People's Liberation Army was militarily inferior to the Soviet Army in equipment. The Chinese adopted an asymmetric deterrence strategy that threatened a large conventional "People's War" in response to a Soviet counterforce first-strike.[1] Chinese numerical superiority was the basis of its strategy to deter a Soviet nuclear attack.[1] Since 1949, Chinese strategy as articulated by Mao Zedong emphasized the superiority of "man over weapons". While weapons were certainly an important component of warfare, Mao argued that they were "not the decisive factor; it is people, not things, that are decisive. The contest of strength is not only a contest of military and economic power, but also a contest of human power and morale".[1] In Mao's view, non-material qualities, including subjectivity, creativity, flexibility and high morale, were critical determinants in warfare.[1]

The Soviets were not confident they could win such a conflict. A large Chinese incursion could threaten strategic centers in Blagoveshchensk, Vladivostok, and Khabarovsk, as well as crucial nodes of the Trans-Siberian Railroad.[1] According to Arkady Shevchenko, a high-ranking Russian defector to the United States, "The Politburo was terrified that the Chinese might make a mass intrusion into Soviet territory.[1] A nightmare vision of invasion by millions of Chinese made the Soviet leaders almost frantic. "Despite our overwhelming superiority in weaponry, it would not be easy for the USSR to cope with an assault of this magnitude."[1] Given China's "vast population and deep knowledge and experience in guerrilla warfare", if the Soviets launched an attack on China's nuclear program they would surely become "mired in an endless war".[1]

Concerns about Chinese manpower and its "people's war" strategy ran so deep that some bureaucrats in Moscow argued the only way to defend against a massive conventional onslaught was to use nuclear weapons.[1] Some even advocated deploying nuclear mines along the Sino-Soviet border.[1] By threatening to initiate a prolonged conventional conflict in retaliation for a nuclear strike, Beijing employed an asymmetric deterrence strategy intended to convince Moscow that the costs of an attack would outweigh the benefits.[1] China had found its strategic rationale. While most Soviet military specialists did not fear a Chinese nuclear reprisal, believing that China's arsenal was so small, rudimentary and vulnerable that it could not survive a first strike and carry out a retaliatory attack, there was great concern about China's massive conventional army.[1] Nikolai Ogarkov, a senior Soviet military officer, believed that a massive nuclear attack "would inevitably mean world war". Even a limited counterforce strike on China's nuclear facilities was dangerous, Ogarkov argued, because a few nuclear weapons would "hardly annihilate" a country the size of China and in response China would "fight unrelentingly".[1]

Border conflict of 1969

The Soviet Border Service started to report intensifying Chinese military activity in the region during the early 1960s. The tensions were rising – first, slowly, then, with the advent of the Cultural Revolution, much faster. The number of troops on both sides of the Sino-Soviet border increased dramatically after 1964. Militarily, in 1961, the USSR had 225,000 men and 200 aeroplanes at that border; in 1968, there were 375,000 men, 1,200 aeroplanes and 120 medium-range missiles. China had 1.5 million men stationed at the border and it had already tested its first nuclear weapon (the 596 Test in October 1964, at Lop Nur basin). Political rhetoric on both sides was getting increasingly more hostile.

Eastern border

Zhenbao (Damansky) Island incident
Date2 March 1969 – 17 March 1969
Result Chinese victory[13][14]
Zhenbao Island came under de facto Chinese control, and was recognized by the Soviet Union in the 1991 Sino-Soviet Border Agreement
 China  Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders
China Sun Yuguo
China Chen Xilian
Soviet Union Demoklat Vladimirovich Leonov 
100[15] 300[16]
Casualties and losses
29 killed
1 missing
62 wounded[17]
58 killed
94 wounded[18]
Sino-Soviet border conflict May 1969
A Soviet ship using a water cannon against a Chinese fisherman on the Ussuri River on 6 May 1969

On 2 March 1969, a group of People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops ambushed Soviet border guards on Zhenbao Island. According to the Chinese sources, the Soviets suffered 58 dead, including a senior colonel, and 94 wounded. The Chinese losses were reported as 29 dead.[19] According to the Soviet/Russian sources, no less than 248 Chinese troops were killed on the island and on the frozen river.[20] That day, 32 Soviet border guards were killed, 14 wounded.[21]

To this day, the sides blame each other for the start of the conflict. However, a scholarly consensus emerges that the 1969 Sino-Soviet border crisis was a premeditated act of violence orchestrated by the Chinese side. Even most of the Chinese historians now agree that on 2 March 1969, PLA forces planned and executed an ambush, which took the Soviets completely by surprise. Why the Chinese leadership opted for such an offensive measure against the Soviet Union remains a disputed question.[22]

On 2 March 1969, Damansky (Zhenbao) Island was under the Soviet control, regularly patrolled by the Soviet border guards. Occasional incursions of the Chinese peasants and fishermen were blocked and repelled without use of deadly force. The Chinese attack on 2 March was led by 3 platoons of specially trained troops, supported by one artillery and two mortar units. It started unprovoked with the illegal crossing of the Sino-Soviet border by a group of 77 PLA soldiers, and took the Soviets by surprise. When a squad of seven men under the command of Sen Lt Ivan Strelnikov approached the Chinese with a verbal demand to leave the island, the Chinese troops opened fire, killing them all. This had started a day of hostilities that saw a Chinese regular army detachment attacking two small groups of Soviet border guards comprising no more than 30 soldiers.

The Chinese believe a different version of the conflict took place. The Chinese Cultural Revolution increased tensions between China and the USSR. This led to brawls between border patrols, and shooting broke out in March 1969. The USSR responded with tanks, APCs, and artillery bombardment. Over three days the PLA successfully halted Soviet penetration and eventually evicted all Soviet troops from Zhenbao Island. During this skirmish the Chinese deployed two reinforced infantry platoons with artillery support. Chinese sources state the Soviets deployed some 60 soldiers and six BTR-60s and in a second attack some 100 troops backed up by 10 tanks and 14 APCs including artillery.[19] The PLA had prepared for this confrontation for two to three months. From among the units, the PLA selected 900 soldiers commanded by army staff members with combat experience. They were provided with special training and special equipment. Then they were secretly dispatched to take position on Zhenbao Island in advance.[6] Chinese General Chen Xilian stated the Chinese had won a clear victory on the battlefield.[6]

On 15 March the Soviets dispatched another 30 soldiers and six combat vehicles to Zhenbao Island. After an hour of fighting the Chinese had destroyed two of the Soviet vehicles. A few hours later the Soviets sent a second wave with artillery support. The Chinese would destroy five more Soviet combat vehicles. A third wave would be repulsed by effective Chinese artillery which destroyed one Soviet tank and four APCs while damaging two other APCs. By the end of the day, with the Chinese in full control of the island, Soviet general O.A. Losik ordered to deploy then-secret BM-21 "Grad" multiple rocket launchers. The Soviets fired 10,000 artillery rounds in a nine hour engagement with the Chinese along with 36 sorties.[23] The attack was devastating for the Chinese troops and materiel. Chinese troops left their positions on the island, following which the Soviets withdrew back to their positions on the Russian bank of the Ussuri river.[24] On 16 March 1969, the Soviets entered the island to collect their dead; the Chinese held their fire. On 17 March 1969, the Soviets tried to recover a disabled T-62 tank from the island, but their effort was repelled by the Chinese artillery.[19] On 21 March, the Soviets sent a demolition team attempting to destroy the tank. The Chinese opened fire and thwarted the Soviets.[19] With the help of divers of the Chinese navy, the PLA pulled the T-62 tank onshore. The tank was later given to the Chinese Military Museum. Until 10 September 1969, the island remained no one's land, with intermittent exchange of fire between the sides. On 10 September 1969 Soviet border guards received an order to cease fire. The PLA troops immediately occupied the island.

Captured T-62 tank
The Soviet T-62 tank captured by the Chinese during the 1969 clash, now on display at the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution

Soviet combat heroes

Five Soviet soldiers were awarded the top honour of the Hero of the Soviet Union for bravery and valor during the Damansky conflict. Col. D.V. Leonov led the group of four T-62 tanks in a counter-attack on 15 March and was killed by a Chinese sniper when leaving the destroyed vehicle. Sen. Lt. Ivan Strelnikov tried to negotiate a peaceful withdrawal of the Chinese commandos from the island and was killed for his troubles while talking to the enemy.[25] Sen. Lt. Vitaly Bubenin led a relief mission of 23 soldiers from the nearby border guards outpost and conducted a BTR-60 raid into the Chinese rear that left 248 attackers dead. Junior sergeant Yuri Babansky assumed command in a battle on 2 March, when the enemy had a 10:1 superiority, after the senior lieutenant Strelnikov was killed. He later led combat search and rescue teams that retrieved bodies of Sen. Lt Strelnikov and Col. Leonov. Junior sergeant Vladimir Orekhov took part in the 15 March battle. As a machine-gunner he was part of the first attacking line against the Chinese forces encamped on the island, he destroyed the enemy machine gun nest, and was wounded twice but continued fighting until he died of his wounds. High military orders of Lenin, The Red Banner, The Red Star and Glory were awarded to 54 soldiers and officers; medals "For Courage" and "For Battle Merit" – to 94 border guards and servicemen.

Chinese combat heroes

During the Zhenbao Island clashes with the Soviet Army in March 1969 one Chinese RPG team, Hua Yujie and his assistant Yu Haichang destroyed four Soviet APCs and achieved more than ten kills. Hua and Yu received the accolade "Combat Hero" from the CMC, and their action was commemorated on a postage stamp.[26]

Western border

Tielieketi incident
China-USSR border. LOC 2007628762 cr

Western part of the China-USSR border, 1988 map
Date13 August 1969
Result Soviet victory
Tielieketi came under de facto Soviet control, but was returned to China by Kazakhstan in 1999
 China  Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders
China Long Shujin
China Fan Jinzhong
China Pei Yingzhang
Soviet Union Vladimir Viktorovich Puchkov
100 300
Casualties and losses
28 killed
1 captured
40 wounded[27][28]
2 killed
10 wounded

Further border clashes occurred in August 1969, this time along the western section of the Sino-Soviet border in Xinjiang. After the Tasiti incident and the Bacha Dao incident, the Tielieketi Incident finally broke out. Chinese troops suffered 28 losses. Heightened tensions raised the prospect of an all-out nuclear exchange between China and the Soviet Union.[29] In the early 1960s, the United States had "probed" the level of Soviet interest in joint action against Chinese nuclear weapons facilities; now the Soviets probed what the United States' reaction would be if the USSR attacked the facilities.[30] While noting that "neither side wishes the inflamed border situation to get out of hand", the Central Intelligence Agency in August 1969 described the conflict as having "explosive potential" in the President's Daily Briefing.[31] The agency stated that "the potential for a war between them clearly exists", including a Soviet attack on Chinese nuclear facilities, while China "appears to view the USSR as its most immediate enemy".[32]

Consequences of 1969

As war fever gripped China, Moscow and Beijing took steps to lower the danger of a large-scale conflict. On 11 September 1969, Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin, on his way back from the funeral of the Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, stopped over in Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart, Zhou Enlai. Symbolic of the frosty relations between the two communist countries, the talks were held at Beijing airport. The two premiers agreed to return ambassadors previously recalled and begin border negotiations.

The view on the reasoning and consequences of the conflict differ. Western historians believe the events at Zhenbao Island and the subsequent border clashes in Xinjiang were mostly caused by Mao's using Chinese local military superiority to satisfy domestic political imperatives in 1969.[33] Yang Kuisong concludes that "the [Sino-Soviet] military clashes were primarily the result of Mao Zedong's domestic mobilization strategies, connected to his worries about the development of the Cultural Revolution."[34]

Russian historians point out that the consequences of the conflict stem directly from the desire of the PRC to take a leading role in the world and strengthen ties with the US. According to the 2004 Russian documentary film, Damansky Island Year 1969 ("Остров Даманский. 1969 год"), Chairman Mao sought to elevate his country from the world's periphery and place it at the centre of world politics.[35] Seen against the background of the Brezhnev-Nixon détente talks, the Damansky incident could serve the double purpose of undermining the Soviet image of a peace-loving country—if the USSR chose to respond with a massive military operation against the invaders—or demonstrating Soviet weakness, if the Chinese attack had been left without response. The killing of Soviet servicemen on the border signalled to the US that China had graduated into high politics and was ready for dialog.

After the conflict, America showed interest in strengthening ties with the Chinese government by secretly sending Henry Kissinger to China for a meeting with Prime Minister Zhou Enlai in 1971, during the so-called Ping Pong Diplomacy, paving the way for Richard Nixon to visit China and meet with Mao Zedong in 1972.[36]

China's relations with the USSR remained sour after the conflict, despite the border talks, which began in 1969 and continued inconclusively for a decade. Domestically, the threat of war caused by the border clashes inaugurated a new stage in the Cultural Revolution; that of China's thorough militarization. The 9th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, held in the aftermath of the Zhenbao Island incident, confirmed Defense Minister Lin Biao as Mao's heir apparent. Following the events of 1969, the Soviet Union further increased its forces along the Sino-Soviet border, and in the Mongolian People's Republic.

Overall, the Sino-Soviet confrontation, which reached its peak in 1969, paved the way to a profound transformation in the international political system.

Border negotiations in the 1990s and beyond

Serious border demarcation negotiations did not occur until shortly before the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. In particular, both sides agreed that Zhenbao Island belonged to China. (Both sides claimed the island was under their control at the time of the agreement.) On 17 October 1995, an agreement over the last 54 kilometres (34 mi) stretch of the border was reached, but the question of control over three islands in the Amur and Argun rivers was left to be settled later.

In a border agreement between Russia and China signed on 14 October 2003, that dispute was finally resolved. China was granted control over Tarabarov Island (Yinlong Island), Zhenbao Island, and approximately 50% of Bolshoy Ussuriysky Island (Heixiazi Island), near Khabarovsk. China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress ratified this agreement on 27 April 2005, with the Russian Duma following suit on 20 May. On 2 June, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov exchanged the ratification documents from their respective governments.[37]

On 21 July 2008, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, signed an additional Sino-Russian Border Line Agreement marking the acceptance of the demarcation of the eastern portion of the Chinese-Russian border in Beijing, China. An additional protocol with a map affiliated on the eastern part of the borders both countries share was signed. The agreement also includes the PRC gaining ownership of Yinlong/Tarabarov Island and half of Heixiazi/Bolshoi Ussuriysky Island.[38]

In the 21st century, the Chinese Communist Party's version of the conflict, present on many official websites, describes the events of March 1969 as a Soviet aggression against China.[39]

In popular culture

  • The map-based war game "The East is Red: the Sino-Soviet War" (based on a hypothetical war using publicly known orders of battle on either side) was published with an accompanying article in issue #42 of Strategy and Tactics magazine by Simulations Publications, Inc. in 1974.
  • Wargame: Red Dragon features a hypothetical war between these two powers based on this border conflict.
  • Graviteam Tactics: Operation star features a historically accurate depiction of the combat in its DLC Zhalanaskol 1969[40]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Gerson, Michael S. (November 2010) The Sino-Soviet Border Conflict: Deterrence, Escalation, and the Threat of Nuclear War in 1969. Center for Naval Analyses
  2. ^ China signs border demarcation pact with Russia. Reuters. 21 July 2008.
  3. ^ a b Ryabushkin, D. A. (2004). Мифы Даманского. АСТ. pp. 151, 263–264. ISBN 978-5-9578-0925-8.
  4. ^ Kuisong, pp. 25, 26, 29
  5. ^ Kuisong, p. 25
  6. ^ a b c Kuisong, pp. 28–29
  7. ^ Baylis, John (1987). Contemporary Strategy: Theories and concepts. Lynne Rienner Pub. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-8419-0929-8.
  8. ^ 1969年珍宝岛自卫反击战. .
  9. ^ Millward, James (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. Columbia University Press. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-85065-818-4.
  10. ^ Forbes, Andrew (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: A Political History of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. CUP Archive. pp. 175, 178, 188. ISBN 0521255147.
  11. ^ Bellér-Hann, Ildikó (2007). Situating the Uyghurs Between China and Central Asia. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 38–41. ISBN 9780754670414.
  12. ^ Shah, Sikander Ahmed (February 2012). "River Boundary Delimitation and the Resolution of the Sir Creek Dispute Between Pakistan and India" (PDF). Vermont Law Review. 34 (357): 364. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 December 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  13. ^ Elizavetin, A. (1992). "Переговоры А.Н.Косыгина и Чжоу Эньлая в Пекинском Аэропорту". Проблемы Дальнего Востока (in Russian). 5: 44–62.
  14. ^ Ryabushkin, D.S. Чем завершились события на острове Даманском Archived 2011-05-16 at the Wayback Machine«Вопросы истории»,2005,No. 12,p168-170.
  15. ^ 《珍宝岛自卫反击战的情况介绍》,《战备教育材料》,第3–5、7–9页。
  16. ^ 《珍宝岛自卫反击战的情况介绍》,《战备教育材料》,第3–5、7–9页。
  17. ^ 《珍宝岛自卫反击战的情况介绍》,《战备教育材料》,第3–5、7–9页。
  18. ^ Krivosheev, G. F. "Пограничные военные конфликты на Дальнем Востоке и в Казахстане (1969 г.)". Россия и СССР в войнах XX века: потери вооруженных сил : статистическое исследование. ISBN 978-5-224-01515-3.
  19. ^ a b c d 《珍宝岛自卫反击战的情况介绍》,《战备教育材料》,第3–5、7–9页。
  20. ^ Kuzmina, N. (15 March 2010). "Как Виталий Бубенин спас Советский Союз от большого позора". SakhaNews. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Некоторые малоизвестные эпизоды пограничного конфликта на о. Даманском". Военное оружие и армии Мира. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  22. ^ Goldstein, p. 988, 990–995.
  23. ^ Gerson, Michael S. (2010) The Sino-Soviet Border Conflict Deterrence, Escalation, and the Threat of Nuclear War in 1969. Center for Naval Analyses, U.S.
  24. ^ Ryabushkin, Dmitri S. (2012). "New Documents on the Sino-Soviet Ussuri Border Clashes of 1969" (PDF). Eurasia Border Review. Special Issue: China's Post-Revolutionary Borders, 1940s–1960s. 3: 159–174 (163–64).
  25. ^ RIA NOVOSTI (1 March 2004). "Veteran border guards mark 35th anniversary of Soviet-Chinese conflict". Sputnik. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  26. ^ Lai, Benjamin (20 November 2012). The Chinese People’s Liberation Army since 1949: Ground Forces. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-78200-320-5.
  27. ^ (in Chinese) 在中苏边界对峙的日子里. Retrieved on 3 February 2019.
  28. ^ 纪念铁列克提战斗40周年聚会活动联系启事. (6 May 2009). Retrieved on 2019-02-03.
  29. ^ Kuisong
  30. ^ Burr, William. "The Sino-Soviet Border Conflict, 1969" National Security Archive, 12 June 2001.
  31. ^ "The President's Daily Brief" (PDF). Central Intelligence Agency. 14 August 1969. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  32. ^ "The President's Daily Brief" (PDF). Central Intelligence Agency. 13 August 1969. p. 3. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  33. ^ Goldstein, p. 997.
  34. ^ Kuisong, p. 22.
  35. ^ The film features interviews with participants and leaders from both sides of the conflict.
  36. ^ Davydov, Grigori (20 March 2001). "Henry Kissinger plays ping-pong". Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  37. ^ "China, Russia solve all border disputes". Xinhua. 2 June 2005. Archived from the original on 12 January 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  38. ^ "China, Russia complete border survey, determination". Xinhua. 21 July 2008. Archived from the original on 26 July 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  39. ^ Astashin, Nikita. "Новейшая фальсификация Китаем истории конфликта на острове Даманский и бездействие МИД России".
  40. ^ Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969 on Steam. (24 July 2014). Retrieved on 2019-02-03.

Cited sources

  • Goldstein, Lyle J. (2001). "Return to Zhenbao Island: Who Started Shooting and Why it Matters". The China Quarterly. 168: 985–97. doi:10.1017/S0009443901000572.
  • Yang, Kuisong (2000). "The Sino-Soviet Border Clash of 1969: From Zhenbao Island to Sino-American Rapprochement". Cold War History. 1: 21–52. doi:10.1080/713999906.

External links

1969 in China

Events from the year 1969 in China.

43rd Army Corps (Soviet Union)

The 43rd Army Corps (Military Unit Number 16460) was a corps of the Soviet Army from 1945 to 1989. The corps was first formed as the 137th Rifle Corps in late 1945 and became the 43rd Rifle Corps (Second Formation) in 1955. The corps was redesignated as the 43rd Army Corps in 1957 and was based in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. In 1969, it moved to Birobidzhan as a result of the Sino-Soviet border conflict. The corps was disbanded in 1989 was a result of Soviet troop reductions at the end of the Cold War.

BM-21 Grad

The BM-21 "Grad" (Russian: БМ-21 "Град", lit. 'Hail') is a Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher. The weapons system and the M-21OF rocket which it fires evolved in the early 1960s and saw their first combat use in March 1969 during the Sino-Soviet border conflict.BM stands for boyevaya mashina (Russian: боевая машина – combat vehicle), and the nickname grad means "hail". The complete system with the BM-21 launch vehicle and the M-21OF rocket is designated as the M-21 field-rocket system. The complete system is more commonly known as a Grad multiple rocket launcher system. In NATO countries the system (either the complete system or the launch vehicle only) was initially known as M1964. Several other countries have copied the Grad or have developed similar systems.


The BTR-60 is the first vehicle in a series of Soviet eight-wheeled armoured personnel carriers (APCs). It was developed in the late 1950s as a replacement for the BTR-152 and was seen in public for the first time in 1961. BTR stands for Bronetransporter (БТР, Бронетранспортер, literally "armoured transporter").

China–Russia border

The Chinese–Russian border or the Sino–Russian border is the international border between China and Russia (CIS member). After the final demarcation carried out in the early 2000s, it measures 4,209.3 kilometres (2,615.5 mi), and is the world's sixth-longest international border.

The China–Russian border consists of two non-contiguous sections: the long eastern section and the much shorter western section.

Lake Zhalanashkol

Lake Zhalanashkol (Kazakh: Жалаңашкөл, literally "Bare Lake", or "Exposed Lake"; Russian: Жаланашколь) is a freshwater lake in the eastern part of Kazakhstan, on the border of Almaty Province (Alakol District) and East Kazakhstan Province (Urzhar District). It is the smallest out of the four major lakes of the Alakol depression (the other three being the Alakol, the Sasykkol, and the Koshkarkol). It is also the southernmost of the four, the one closest to the Dzungarian Gate and the Aibi Lake on the other, Chinese, side of the Gate.

On the maps compiled in the 18th and 19th century the Zhalanashkol is labeled Taskol (literally "Stone Lake"); this name is now obsolete.In its geological past, the Zhalanashkol may have been the southernmost bay of the larger Lake Alakol. However, now the valley that connects the two lakes has been filled with sediment. Seasonally (when the water level in the Zhalanashkol is at its highest), water drains from the Zhalanashkol to the Alakol along the 10-km long slough called Zhaman-Otkel (Russian: Жаман-Откель).No rivers reach the Zhalanashkol. (The Terekty River flows toward Zhalanashkol from the mountains of China's Yumin County, but reaches the lake only in the form of a usually dry alluvial fan.) The lake is fed by ground water, and by seasonal runoff of rainwater or snow meltwater from the surrounding area.The lake is usually frozen until late March.Lake Zhalanashkol is part of the Alakol Nature Reserve.

The Aktogay-Dostyk (Kazakhstan's connector between the Turkestan–Siberia Railway and China's Lanzhou–Xinjiang Railway) runs along the lake's eastern shore. The Zhalanashkol Railway Station is located there (45°36′00″N 82°11′00″E); a Kazakhstan border patrol station of the same name is nearby.

The highway to Dostyk runs on the lake's west side.

A Sino-Soviet border conflict, which took place in August 1969 in the hills east of the lake, has been known in the USSR and post-Soviet states as the "Lake Zhalanashkol incident". In China it is known as the Tielieketi incident, based on the name of a locality on the Chinese side on the border, itself coming from the Terekty River.

List of Chinese wars and battles

The following is a list of Chinese wars and battles, organized by date. The list is not exhaustive.

List of conflicts related to the Cold War

While the Cold War itself never escalated into direct confrontation, there were a number of conflicts related to the Cold War around the globe, spanning the entirety of the period usually prescribed to it (March 12, 1947 to December 26, 1991, a total of 44 years, 9 months, and 2 weeks).


Luchegorsk (Russian: Лучего́рск) is an urban locality (an urban-type settlement) and the administrative center of Pozharsky District of Primorsky Krai, Russia. Population: 21,004 (2010 Census); 22,365 (2002 Census); 21,825 (1989 Census).


Negidals (Russian: негидальцы; Negidal: элькан бэйэнин, elkan bayenin, "local people") are a people in the Khabarovsk Krai in Russia, who live along the Amgun River and Amur River.

The ethnonym "Negidal" is a Russification of the Ewenki term ngegida, which means "coastal people".

Sino-Soviet War

The Sino-Soviet War may refer to:

Sino-Soviet conflict (1929), minor armed conflict over a railway in 1929

Sino-Soviet border conflict, military conflict in 1969

Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army

The Special Far Eastern Army, later the Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army was a military formation of the Red Army, active from 1929 to 1938.

It was activated on 6 August 1929, originally with the 18th and 19th Rifle Corps assigned, in response to the Sino-Soviet border conflict regarding the ownership of the Chinese Eastern Railway.

Following the Soviet victory in the Civil War the Soviet forces in the Far East became the Special Far Eastern Army of the Far Eastern Republic. Circa 1932 the 3rd Kholkoz Rifle Division OKDVA was established, and the 57th Rifle Division joined the army.

The District was first briefly formed in 1935 from those forces, but then reverted to the title Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army (OKDVA), under Marshal of the Soviet Union Vasily Blyukher, while still functioning as a military district. The Army became the Soviet Far East Front in June 1938, after Blyukher's torture and death at the hands of the NKVD during the Great Purge. It was reportedly disestablished on 30 June 1938.


The T-62 is a Soviet main battle tank that was first introduced 1961. As a further development of the T-55 series, the T-62 retained many similar design elements of its predecessor including low profile and thick turret armor. In contrast with previous tanks, which were armed with rifled tank guns, the T-62 was the first tank armed with a smoothbore tank gun that could fire APFSDS rounds at higher velocities. While the T-62 became the standard tank in the Soviet arsenal, it did not fully replace the T-55 in export markets due to its higher manufacturing costs and maintenance requirements compared to its predecessor. Although the T-62 was replaced in Russia and the successor states of the Soviet Union, it is still used in some countries and its design features became standardized in subsequent Soviet and Russian mass-produced tanks.

Terekty River

The Terekty River (Kazakh: Теректi өзенi, Russian: река Теректы), also known under the Sinified spelling Tielieketi (Chinese: 铁列克提河; pinyin: Tiělièkètí hé), is a small river that flows from China to Kazakhstan. In its lower course the river is also known as the Kusak (Kazakh: Қусақ, Russian: Кусак, Chinese: 库萨克; pinyin: Kùsàkè). Along most of its course, the river flows through the very sparsely populated mountainous terrain of the southern part of Xinjiang's Yumin County; by the time it crosses the China–Kazakhstan border and enters a flat desert east of Lake Zhalanashkol, its bed is usually dry, with little water ever reaching Lake Zhalanashkol.

The Terekty is mainly known as the site of a Sino-Soviet border conflict that occurred in August 1969.

Territorial changes of the People's Republic of China

Territorial changes of the People's Republic of China has frequently been revised since its formation on 1 October 1949.

Until 1986, the total territory (or under control) of P.R.China was 10.45 million km2, including:

Continental mainland: ~9.40 million km2

Islands and reefs: ~75,400 km2

Coastal beaches and shoaly lands: ~12,700 km2

Inner sea (mainly Bohai Sea): ~693,000 km2

Territorial (sea only) waters: ~220,000 km2During the 1990s and 2000s, the official size and value of China's territory is rarely officially declared or published, partly because of the frequent and ongoing changes in their territorial claims.

The Republic of China government (on Taiwan) does not recognize the PRC's territorial changes in accordance with the 1947 constitution (although amended in 1991 to include the ROC's free area).

Type 60 122 mm field gun

The Type 60 122mm towed gun is the Soviet D-74 122mm gun produced by the Chinese under licence. Developed in the late 1950s, it provided direct/indirect fire for the PLA. It remains in service with reserve units in gun battalions attached to motorized infantry and armoured divisions. It is in active service with the Sri Lankan Army, introduced in the early 1990s to replace the Ordnance QF 25 pounder field gun. It has seen action in the Sri Lankan civil war.

Ussuri River

The Ussuri River or Wusuli River (Russian: река Уссури; Chinese: 乌苏里江; pinyin: Wūsūlǐ Jiāng), runs through Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krais, Russia, and the southeast region of Northeast China. It rises in the Sikhote-Alin mountain range, flowing north and forming part of the Sino-Russian border (which is based on the Sino-Russian Convention of Peking of 1860) until it joins the Amur River as a tributary to it at Khabarovsk (48°26′N 134°59′E). It is approximately 897 kilometers (557 mi) long. The Ussuri River drains the Ussuri basin, which covers 193,000 square kilometers (75,000 sq mi). Its waters come from rain (60%), snow (30–35%) and subterranean springs. The average discharge is 1,150 cubic metres per second (41,000 cu ft/s) and the average elevation is 1,682 metres (5,518 ft).

Wang Jiadao

Wang Jiadao (Chinese: 汪家道) (1916–1992) was a People's Liberation Army major general and People's Republic of China politician. He was born in Huoqiu County, Anhui Province. As a member of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, he participated in the Long March. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, he was part of the Eighth Route Army. In March 1969, he was involved in the Sino-Soviet border conflict. In 1971, he was made Governor and Communist Party of China Committee Secretary of Heilongjiang Province after the dismissal of Pan Fusheng.

Zhenbao Island

Zhenbao Island (simplified Chinese: 珍宝岛; traditional Chinese: 珍寶島; pinyin: Zhēnbǎo dǎo; literally: 'Rare Treasure Island') or Damansky Island (Russian: о́стров Дама́нский, ostrov Damanskiy) is a small island measuring 0.74 square kilometres (0.29 sq mi). It is located on the Ussuri River on the border between Primorsky Krai of Russia and Heilongjiang province, People's Republic of China (PRC).

It was the subject of a territorial dispute between the Soviet Union and the PRC. Battles were fought over Zhenbao Island by the Soviet Union and the PRC, with a considerable loss of life, during the Sino-Soviet border conflict of March 1969. The conflict over Zhenbao raised concerns that it could ignite another World War until an initial resolution of the conflict in November 1969.

On May 19, 1991, the two sides came to an agreement that Zhenbao Island was part of the territory of the PRC; the Soviet troops withdrew.

A 2004 Russian documentary film, Damansky Island Year 1969. ("Остров Даманский. 1969 год"), was made about the 1969 Zhenbao incident. Interviews were filmed with participants and leaders from both sides of the conflict.

Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinZhōng Sū biānjiè chōngtū
IPA[ʈʂʊ́ŋ sú pjɛ́ntɕjê ʈʂʰʊ́ŋtʰú]
Yue: Cantonese
JyutpingZung1 Sou1 bin1gaai3 cung1dat6
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinZhēnbǎo dǎo zìwèi fǎnjí zhàn
Events (1964–1982)
Events (1982–1985)
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(after 1 Oct 1949)
See also
Frozen conflicts
Foreign policy
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