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Friday, May 23, 2008

Russia, China Reject U.S. missile shield

HISTORY IN THE NEWS

But there is neither East nor West/border nor breed nor birth/When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!."
- Rudyard Kipling, The Ballad of East and West

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DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

TAG:
China and Russia, long at odds after Khrushchev's 1956 policy of ideological moderation,
began a rapprochement in the 1990s over post-Soviet security and energy issues in Central Asia. More recently China has begun to join Russia in uneasiness about Western encroachment on Russia's borders. Latent east-west tensions going back as far as the 18th century are once again revived.

IN THE NEWS: PEKING:
RUSSIA'S DMITRI MEDVEDEV AND CHINA'S HU JINTAO SIGN A STATEMENT OPPOSING A U.S. MISSILE SHIELD IN EUROPE AND ELSEWHERE. THEY ARGUE IT WILL SET BACK NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT.

REARVIEW MIRROR:
*1672-1725- Peter the Great- westernizer and modernizer of Russia. Builder of Petersburg. He extends Russia south to Orenberg and from the Urals to all of Siberia and the eastern Sea of Okhotsk.
*1675-1683- Qing conquest of south China. Chinese empire expands to include Tibet, Manchuria, Mongolia, Taiwan, parts of Turkestan.
*1917- Republic of China enters World War I on the side of the allies.
*1956- Soviets take a more moderate path with de-Stalinization, beginning an ideological divergence from China.
*1996- China, Russia, Kazakstan, Kygyztsan and Tajikstan meet to cooperate in dealing with ethnic and religious tensions in one another's countries.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Two sides of the world developed different ideological systems: one built on wealth and consumption; the other built on poverty, despotism, and a need to resist the colonial predations of the wealthy, western powers. The two opposed historical developments culminated in the Cold War. The end of the Cold War with the end of Soviet Communism and China's adoption of a state-run market economy have given the appearance of a millennial rapprochement between east and west. But aggressive American foreign policy, justified (to itself) by sole superpower status, global competition for resources, and Russian nostalgia for her former dominance are working together, once again, to split east from west.

IN A NUTSHELL:
Immense national wealth from energy reserves and high oil prices lie behind Russia's newly forceful foreign policy as it parries attempts by the European Union and NATO to expand into Eastern Europe and the Republic of Georgia. China, meanwhile, remains wary of the US military presence in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Multilateral concerns such as terrorism and Islamic radicalism may turn out to have been a fragile thread for binding the three world powers. Neither China nor Russia believe that Washington's placement of a missile defense system in eastern Europe is primarily directed toward Iran, as President Bush claims. One must still bear in mind Russia's suspicion of Europe going back to Napoleon's invasion; and China's experience of European colonialism in the 19th century.

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Eastern Europe and Russia: note the Russian
enclave of Kaliningrad between Lithuania and Poland.


THEN AND NOW:
When did Russia and the United State ever have good relations? Russia exported a great deal of grain to the United States in the 1860s when American grain production was interrupted during Civil War. American suspicion of Bolshevism was briefly allayed during the fight against Hitler. After an even briefer honeymoon upon the fall of the Soviet Empire, Russians came to deplore U.S. style free-market quick fixes for the Russian economy. Only 9/11 brought about another brief warming as Presidents Putin and Bush shared mutual concerns over terrorism. That good will is being quickly spent in competition for resources in the Caspian basin and Central Asia, in the EU's and NATO's gradual spread in eastern Europe and the Caucasus and in Russia's sabre-rattling over Georgia. Washington and Moscow can look back on less than a dozen years all told when relations were warm.

CONTENTS:
SCROLL DOWN FOR:

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
RELEVANT DATES
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS .
PREVIOUS ENTRIES

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
LOCATION OF NOTE:
PROFILE:
CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY
EYEWITNESS

PRESENT SITUATION

PLUS CA CHANGE

CURIOSITY
TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: In the first half of the 20th century, Russia and China were aligned with Europe and the west mostly because of aggression from the Axis powers, Japan and Germany. The new Republic of China (1911) supported the allies against Germany and Japan during World War I. But at the treaty of Versailles, in 1919, Beijing was bitter about the conference's failure to expel the Japanese from Shantung. Shortly afterward, however, the Washington Conference recognized China's sovereignty over Shantung and affirmed China's territorial integrity,. But it also reaffirmed the Open Door Policy by which foreign powers had equal access to Chinese trade. It looked as if western, 19th century colonialism in China might bear fruit. In World War II, China and Russia joined the allies, once again, in the face of Nazi and Japanese aggression. Stalin followed Alexander Nevsky, Alexander I and others great Russians in successfully resisting aggression from Europe. After the war, the west would return as Russia's bugbear. Stalin's expansion into Berlin and Eastern Europe and China's Communist revolution aligned both Communist powers against Europe and the United States. The Chinese-Russian alliance reached its height in China's support for, and Russia's initial backing of North Korea in the face of NATO and US-supported South Korean resistance during the Korean war. In 1953, at the close of the Korean War, China emerged, for the first time as a leading power on the world stage with a coherent foreign policy. But by this time, the U.S. maintained a massive post-war military presence in South Korea and in the south west Pacific. For a few years Moscow assisted China in the development of its industry and railroads. After the death of Stalin, however, Khrushchev's policy of de-Stalinization and ideological moderation began to run counter to China's increasing radicalism. As the Communist superpowers drifted apart over ideological differences, tensions between the U.S. and China also increased: when Chiang Kai Chek reasserted the claims of the old Taiwan-based Chinese government in exile as the true ruler of China, Washington threatened force in response to any Chinese attack on Taiwan. The late 1950s marked an all-time low in three-way relations among Washington, Moscow and Peking. In 1960 the nadir was reached as Moscow withdrew economic aid and military advisers from China and in 1961 with a hair-trigger brush with nuclear war when President Kennedy forced Khrushchev to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba. The gloomy state of relations between the three powers continued in 1964 when China tested its first nuclear weapon and supported North Viet Nam against the United States in the Viet Nam War from 1966. It was around then that matters with China gradually took a turn for the better, with Peking adopting a less ideological foreign policy, seeking more diplomatic and economic engagement around the world. The slow upswing included Russia and the United States; the two superpowers, aware of the risk of mutually assured nuclear annihilation, began the Strategic Arms Limitation ( SALT) talks beginning in 1969. Though relations were thawing a little in U.S. relations with Russia and China , Chinese-Russian relations remained poor with a 1969 border conflict most sparking open war. It was clear to Washington, however, that conflict between the two Communist superpowers provided unparalleled opportunities for rapprochement providing economic as well as political dividends. U.S. President Nixon's 1972 visit to China and the culmination of the SALT talks in the 1972 ABM treaty between Washington and Moscow banning ballistic missiles, further warmed US relations with China and Russia separately. The trend took a leap forward with Mao's death in 1976 and Chairman Deng Xiao Ping's policy of gradually strengthening political and economic ties with the west.

Deng Xiao Ping

In 1979, full diplomatic relations were restored between Washington and Beijing. As US relations warmed with China, they cooled again with the USSR, President Ronald Reagan tabling his Star Wars anti-nuclear missile shield, predecessor to President Bush's present program. Even the talks between Reagan and the liberal Soviet premier Gorbachev, in Iceland in 1986, became bogged down. Peking's Tianamen Square massacre of democracy protesters set back Chinese-Western relations only briefly. The economic and political momentum of China's opening to the world was already too great. Washington's perfect opportunity with Moscow arrived with the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Communism in 1991- but it was squandered when the U.S. tried to force-feed market economics to a country reduced to a vacuum and bereft of laws or regulations. The result was the unstable rule of Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first democratically elected president and the development of Russia's new class of robber barons or 'Oligarchs'- whose predatory existence, can be blamed, in part, on United States policy. Russia's new economic nationalism exists, to some degree, in contradistinction to what are seen as the wicked ways of western capitalism and the Russian Oligarchs who are seen to represent it.

RELEVANT DATES:
1812- Russia defeats Napoleon's attempted invasion.
1894-1895- Great Britain and the United States encourage the Open Door policy- allowing all nations equal access to foreign trade in China. However, foreign nations decide instead to carve out separate fiefdoms.
-Russia annexes the Central Asian regions of Turkestan: Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent as far as the Persian frontier.
1949- Jan.- Beijing falls to Communists.
1953- China emerges as a regional diplomatic power at end of Korean War.
1956- the 20th Party Congress. Khrushchev denounces Stalin for crimes against the party and building a personality cult. He begins a process of de-Stalinization.
1960- withdrawal of Soviet advisers and economic aid from China. Military build-up and clashes on China-Soviet border.
1962- Khrushchev places missiles on Cuba setting off the Cuban Missile Crisis. US President Kennedy stares him down, forcing Krushchev to withdraw the missiles.
-China's foreign policy, previously ideological, becomes more diplomatic, sending aid to underdeveloped countries around the world.
1969- Nov. 17- first Stratigic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the US and the Soviet Union.
1972- US President Nixon visits Beijing. Bilateral commitment to work toward peace in Asia and develop economic, cultural and diplomatic ties.
1977- In wake of Mao's death, Deng Xiaoping is rehabilitated, becomes deputy to Chairman Hua Go Feng but is in fact the most powerful. His plan is to build up the economy and strengthen ties with the west.
1983- in the US, President Ronald Reagan begins a massive nuclear arms build-up which includes his elaborate 'Star Wars' missile defense system.
1989- Tianamen Square- Government massacre of democracy protesters. Thousands arrested. Zhou Ziang is replaced with Jiang Zemin. Deng has set a sharp limit to the CCP's loss of influence.
The west imposes economic sanctions, sending China's economy into decline.
1990- economic sanctions are futile and the west relaxes them.
1991- Dec. 31- Gorbachev resigns-- the fall of the Soviet Union..
1996- China, Russia, Kazakstan, Kygyztsan and Tajikstan meet to cooperate in dealing with ethnic and relgious tensions in one another's countries.
2000 -US president Bush tables his National Missile Defense (NMD) system.
2001- China, Russia and four Central Asian countries form the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to combat ethnic and religious militants and enhance trade. They are known as the Shanghai Five.
2004- Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia join the European Union.
2005-August- joint military exercises held by Russia and China.
2006- March- Putin signs gas deal with China.
Sept-Oct. -four Russians held as spies in Georgia during wrangle with Russia over seceding regions of Gerorgia and its membership in NATO.
-May- Russia test-fires a long-range Missile and talks of a new arms race amid US plans to place missile defence system in Eastern Europe.
2007- June- Putin delivers a strong protest over US plans to install an anti-missile defense system in Eastern Europe, ellegedly intended to cover Iran. To George Bush, he proposes Azerbaijan as an alternative.
2008- January- Russia begins naval exercises in neutral waters off France's Bay of Biscay- reminiscent of former Soviet practice.

RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: After the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the secession of the non-Russian Soviet republics, the map of Asia changed dramatically with the appearance of a series of new Central Asian republics between China and Russia. What had once been a standoff between two Communist superpowers with a shared border was transformed into a multi-national consensus around regional cooperation over energy and security. Moscow and Beijing are determined to share control of the region's energy and resources with the new Central Asian nations. They also want to guard against terrorism and the regional spread of Islamic radicalism. And they are worried about U.S. encroachment. In the 1990s, U.S. President Clinton obtained alliances and military cooperation with the nations of the Caspian basin in order to protect U.S. access to the area's gas and oil. In 2000, Moscow and Peking signed the Russia-China friendship pact. In 2001, the danger represented by the terror attacks of 9/11 appeared, on the surface, to seal a deep friendship between Russian president Putin and President Bush. But it was illusory. The U.S. soon projected power not just into the Caspian basin, but into Afghanistan and Central Asia. A 2002 Russia-NATO agreement seems to have been restricted to the issue of terrorism- one of a number of dwindling issues that Russia shared with Washington. Meanwhile it became clear that President Putin, with strong domestic support, was determined to recover Russia's former glory as a Czarist, then Soviet world power. A new sort of east-west split was being fed by perceived advantages on both sides. On the east, Russia's immense reserves of oil and gas and her wealth from high energy prices, along with China's unstoppable trade and economic boom, were matched on the west by President Bush's proposed defensive missile system for eastern Europe, NATO's and the European Union's arrival on Russia's western and southern borders, in Ukraine and Georgia. In Georgia, the U.S., once again, is anxious to protect its access to Caspian sea oil and the pipeline that carries it through Georgia to the Black Sea. Russia is responding with attempts to draw Georgia back into its sphere of influence by lending tacit support to South Ossetian and Abkazian separatist movements within Georgia. The western presence along Russia's borders is seen by Moscow as interference in Moscow' sphere of influence. And in South Korea and the southwest Pacific, the US maintains an immense armed presence in China's traditional zone of influence. 2005 to 2006 saw Chinese-Russian joint military exercises and an energy deal between Moscow and Beijing. There have been signs of Russian and Chinese rearmament, not against one an other, but against the west. Bush's insistence on setting up a missile defense program in Eastern Europe, allegedly directed toward Iran, has been countered by Moscow's threat to reintroduce ballistic missiles to its western borders and withdraw from the demilitarization of Western Europe. China maintains the best position of all, enjoying regional solidarity and joint concerns with Russia, while keeping solid relations with the United States, partly due to the colossal loans which Beijing has extended to cash-strapped Washington.

RELATED ENTRIES:
Russia increases its grip on Abkhazia and South Ossetia- 4/17/08
Medvedev Elected Russian President- 3/3/08
Putin's United Russia Party Wins Majority- 12/1/07

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, China and Russia were expanding their empires toward central Asia; China toward the north and west; Russia toward the south east. In the 18th century, China and Russia, having acquired more land under Russia's Peter the Great and China's Chien Lung Emperor, were almost in contact. Meanwhile, Russian suspicions of Europe were aroused by the liberalism of the French Revolution. In medieval times, Alexander Nevsky had resisted the Swedes and other heroes had resisted attacks from Poland and Eastern Europe. But Czar Alexander I was the first to inspire his people with a nationalism that was almost mystical. In fighting Napoleon, he marshaled the greatest resistance yet to invasion from Europe, successfully turning back Napoleon in 1812. Over the following century, the notion that Liberty, Equality and Fraternity were universal alarmed Russia's rulers who saw their application at home in any but the most cautious measure, as being part of western devilry. In 1917, Lenin preserved the homeland by making a wise peace with Germany. During the revolution, the Communists adopted western ideas that were useful to them, considering all other ideas from the west anathema. By this time, the Russian empire included central Asia, Georgia and other regions of the Caucasus. But a common Russian-Chinese cause was emerging. In the 19th century, China had been humiliated, gradually broken up among various western colonial and trading interests. By the end of the century, Great Britain and the United States maintained the Open Door policy, allowing all nations equal commercial access to China- but competition continued. Increasingly, China and Russia were directed toward internal order and the ideological re-making of their societies, while Europe and America were increasingly concerned with securing resources abroad.

LOCATION OF NOTE: Kaliningrad, where President Putin's defense minister threatened in summer, 2007, to install a defensive missile system if Washington didn't cancel its nuclear shield in Eastern Europe. The port lies in an enclave between Lithuania and Poland, that Russia maintained after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Kaliningrad is an ice-free Russian port and naval base near the Gulf of Kaliningrad on the Baltic, just north of the Polish border. In 1255, the Knights Templar, under Ottocar II, founded the city as a fortress. The city joined the Hanseatic League in 1340 and in 1457 became the seat of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order of Knights. From 1525, it was the home of the Dukes of Prussia until Prussian unification with Brandenburg in 1618. It became the coronation city for the kings of Prussia in 1701 and was then names Konigsberg. The University at Konigsberg became famous for the career and writings of one of its professors, Emmanel Kant. Most of the city' older buildings were severely damaged by Soviet troops in World War II, its German population deported to Siberia. Stalin annexed the region in 1945 and the city was renamed Kaliningrad for Mikhail Kalinin. The new Soviet city was built on the suburbs of Konigsberg and it became the port of the Soviet Baltic Fleet.

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PROFILE:
Alexander I, (1777-1825), emperor of Russia (1801-1825) Grandson of Catherine the Great. Alexander's ideas were at first liberal and this put him in some sympathy with the French Revolution. Between 1802 and 1805, he was at peace with Napoleon. But in1805 he joined the coalition against France led by Pitt and the British. From 1805 to 1807, he took part in campaigns by the crowned heads of Europe to stop Napoleon from making Europe into a French revolutionary empire. Defeated at Friedland, Alexander was forced to sign a peace at Tilsit in 1807.

Though he was a constitutional liberal by temperament, he had mixed feelings about the ideas of the French Revolution. In the end, he decided they were best in the hands of some one like Napoleon, for whom he had a deep personal admiration. Moreover, he had lost no territory in the war and was given a free hand on his northwestern and southwestern border regions- namely Finland and Bessarabia. On the other hand, Napoleon's Continental system stymied Russian trade; and in Poland, the Duchy of Warsaw had become, effectively, a French satellite on Russia's doorstep. By 1812, Napoleon suspected Alexander of breaching his continental blockade of England by allowing Russia to trade with the English. According to Russia, Napoleon had begun to empower the Duchy of Warsaw and broke the peace of 1807 by invading Russia in 1812. The resistance united ordinary Russians of all classes in rare nationalistic fervor. When Napoleon's attempt failed and he was driven back by the winter and Russian determination, Alexander joined the European onslaught against Napoleon in 1813 and helped defeat him at Leipzig. He joined the allies in forcing Napoleon to abdicate at Fontainebleau in 1814. During the post-Napoleonic settlement at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, he demanded Poland as a Russian protectorate. In this, he was opposed by England and Austria and forced to share Polish territory with Austria and Prussia- although Russia did obtain the largest share. He finally came round to supporting Metternich in the suppression of all liberal and national movements.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY: Apart from border skirmishes, Russia and China have never seriously gone to war with one another. The buffer state of outer Mongolia, Russian possession of Central Asia and the subsequent independence of the Central Asian nations have rarely been cause for rivalry. The relative peace between the two countries, Communist and post-Communist, may have arisen from facing a common enemy- political or commercial threats from the outside world. China, wary of the massive US naval presence in the south-west pacific, and Russia, worried about being hemmed in by NATO, the European Union and the U.S. missile shield seem to have made common cause.

EYE-WITNESS:
As Napoleon arrived, believing his armies victorious, the Russians burned Moscow in order to deprive the French of supplies for the coming winter. It turned out to be a superb strategy. "Napoleon passed the night of September 14 in the Dorogomilow faubourg, and only entered Moscow on the morrow. This entry was not accompanied by the tumult which marks the taking of possession of a great city. No noise disturbed the solitude of the city streets, save only the rumbling of the cannon and of the artillery caissons. Moscow seemed asleep in deep sleep, like one of those enchanted cities of which we read in Arabian tales...The Emperor proceeded directly to the Kremlin, a large ctadel placed in the center of the town, on top of a hill, surrounded with an embattled wall and flanked at intervals with towers armed with cannon...In this imposing fane reigns a magnificence which is half half barbaric and of a primitive character...Enormous silver lamps of Byzantine shape hang from the arches of (the tomb of the Czars), large, many branched chandeliers of the same metal stand on pedestals on the floor...Hardly had the Emperor entered the Kremlin the Kitaigorod or Chinese City, an immense bazaar, surrounded by porticoes...This conflagration, spreading rapidly, devoured three-quarters of Moscow in three days...The town was one mighty furnace from which sheaves of fire burst heavenwards lighting up the horizon with the glaring flames and spreading burning heat...Motionless and in the silence of stupor we looked on at this horrible and magnificent spectacle, with the feeling of our absolutely helplessness to render any existence." -Baron Claude Francois de Meneval.

PRESENT SITUATION: On the one hand war is unlikely because Russia, China, the United States and Europe are all doing well economically and have too much to lose. But as long Russian manoevres near Georgia and NATO's, Europe's and the United States' gradual crowding of Russia's traditional sphere of influence continues to extend historic patterns, the danger increases that a line will be crossed in which one side or the other can no longer save face and diplomatic protests become useless.

PLUS CA CHANGE:
As Georgia gradually fell under Russian control in the early 19th century, attempts to repress Georgian language and culture were met with repeated rebellion. In 1921, Georgian attempts at independence were met with repression by the Red Army. In 1989, in Tbilisi, Soviet troops massacred demonstrators who were likewise calling for Georgian independence. In 2008, Russia maintains a threatening military presence on Georgia's borders and near Georgia's separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

CURIOSITY:
In the late 18th century, Czar Paul I ignored Turkish expansion and allowed Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, to be sacked by the Ottomans.


TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF CHINA-RUSSIA-US RELATIONS:

Early Russian and Chinese Expansion.

1584- Russia extends from Kiev to the north shore of the Caspian Sea to Siberia past the Urals, to the Arctic.

1661-1722- China's K'ang-hsi Emperor of the Manchu (or Qing)

1672-1725- Peter the Great- westernizer and modernizer of Russia. Builder of Petersburg. Peter extends Russia south to Orenberg and from the Urals to all of Siberia and the eastern Sea of Okhotsk.

1675-1683- Qing conquest of south China.

-Chinese empire expands to include Tibet, Manchuria, Mongolia, Taiwan, parts of Turkestan.

1735-1796- the Ch'ien-Lung Emperor. China at its greatest territorial extent.

1783- pressured by the Turks and Persians, Georgia seeks help and becomes a protectorate of the Russian Empire.

-Russian attempts to suppress Georgian culture and language lead to a series uprisings.

18th century East-West Tensions

1787- in response to American Revolution and unrest in France, Catherine the Great imposes heavy censorship, undoing much of her own Russian enlightenment.

1803-1829- Russia acquires western Georgia from Turkey: Abkhazia, Mingrelia, Imeritia and Guria.

1804-1813- war between Russia and Persia.

1812- Napoleon is forced to retreat after attempting to invade Russia.

1813- treaty of Gulistan- after Russian victory, Persia cedes Georgia, Daghestan and Shemakha to Russia.

1820s- -the Russian empire extends south to Kazakstan and the Aral Sea.

1880s- under Alexander III, Russia Expands into Central Asia.

Great Britain, the US and the Open Door policy

1894-1895- Great Britain and the United States encourage the Open Door policy- allowing all nations equal access to foreign trade in China. However, foreign nations decide instead to carve out separate fiefdoms.

-Russia annexes the Central Asian regions of Turkestan: Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent as far as the Persian frontier.

China and the Conferences at Versailles and Washington

1917- Republic of China enters World War I on the side of the allies.

1919- at Treaty of Versailles, China fails to prevent Japanese from getting Shantung.

1919- China's May Fourth Movement protests decision at Versailles.

1921-1922- Washington Conference- Japan finally agrees to withdraw from Shantung. Open door policy and China's territorial integrity are affirmed.

1941- after Pearl Harbour, China receives US aid.

End of World War II- Russia and China moving away from the West.

1945- Stalin occupies the Baltic states and parts of east Prussia. He occupies Eastern Europe and East Berlin and the Balkans. Beginning of the Cold War.

1946- US fails to mediate the Communist-Nationalist conflict. Renewal of Civil War.

-the Russians, withdrawing from Manchuria, leave military equipment to the Communists.

1948- Chiang Kai Chek's US-supported nationalists appear to be winning outside Manchuria.

1949- the USSR detonates an atomic bomb.

Beginning of the Cold War- Radical, Anti-West regimes in USSR and China.

1949- Jan.- Beijing falls to Communists.

-August- U.S, withdraws aid from Nationalists.

1950- China allies with North Korea in Korean War, atttempts to stem a drive by UN forces toward Manchurian border.

-1953- death of Stalin.

China Steps onto the World Stage.

-1953- China emerges as a regional diplomatic power at end of Korean War.

1953-57- China's First Five-Year Plan. Nationalization, collectivization. USSR helps with expansion of railroads and industry.

1955-Chiang Kai Chek reaffirms claims on China from Taiwan. US supports Taiwan against China, declaring that it would respond to a direct military attack on Taiwan.

1956- the 20th Party Congress. Khrushchev denounces Stalin for crimes against the party and building a personality cult. He begins a process of de-Stalinization.

Rift Develops between Russia and China

1956- Soviets take a more moderate path with de-Stalinization, beginning an ideological divergence from China.

1958- the US deploys its first intercontinental ballistic missiles.

1960- withdrawal of Soviet advisers and economic aid from China. Military build-up and clashes on China-Soviet border.

The Cuban Missile Crisis.

1962- Khrushchev places missiles on Cuba setting off the Cuban Missile Crisis. US President Kennedy stares him down, forcing Krushchev to withdraw the missiles.

1964- China's first atomic bomb tested.

1966- China gives military support to North Viet Nam against the U.S..

China Gradually Opens to the World.

-China's foreign policy, previously ideological, becomes more diplomatic, sending aid to underdeveloped countries around the world.

1967- founding of ASEAN- Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

-China's first hydrogen bomb tested.

US and Soviet Attempts to limit nuclear proliferation.

1968- July 1- treaty for the non-proliferation of Nuclear weapons signed by the US and the Soviet Union.

1969- Sino-Soviet border conflict.


1969- Nov. 17- first Stratigic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the US and the Soviet Union.

Nixon's Rapprochement with China

1971- Nixon announces plan to visit Beijing. US drops its objection to China having a seat in the UN. UN expels Taiwan nationalist delegation.

1972- US President Nixon visits Beijing. Bilateral commitment to work toward peace in Asia and develop economic, cultural and diplomatic ties.

1972- May 26- SALT I ends in the signing of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty between Nixon and Brezhnev.

1976- Sept.- death of Mao.

Oct.- a coalition of military and political leaders purges radical extremists, the Gang of Four. Hua Go Feng becomes chairman.

Rapprochement with the West accelerates under Deng.

1977- Deng is rehabilitated, becomes deputy to Chairman Hua Go Feng but is in fact the most powerful. His plan is to build up the economy and strengthen ties with the west.

1979- Jan 1- full diplomatic relations restored between China and U.S.

1981- China replaces Taiwan on the IMF and in the World Bank.

1982-84- Russian Premier Yuri Andropov.

U.S. Develops Star Wars Missile Shield against USSR.

-in the US, President Ronald Reagan begins a massive nuclear arms build-up which includes his elaborate 'Star Wars' missile defense system.

1986- At Rekjavik, Iceland, talks on the abolition of nuclear weapons between Gorbachev and Reagan break down over Reagan’s insistence on retaining his Star-Wars missile shield program.


Tienamen Massacre brings International Condemnation.

1989- Tianamen Square- Government massacre of democracy protesters. Thousands arrested. Zhou Ziang is replaced with Jiang Zemin. Deng has set a sharp limit to the CCP's loss of influence.

-all political opposition is suppressed by Jiang Zemin.

-the west imposes economic sanctions, sending China's economy into decline.

1990- economic sanctions are futile and the west relaxes them.

Recovery of US-China Relations.

-June- hundreds of dissidents are freed. US restores China's 'most favoured nation status'.

The Fall of the Soviet Union.

1991- April- under Gamsakhurdia, Georgia wins independence despite protest from the Muslim majority in Abkhazia which don’t want to be part of Georgia.

1991- 8 Dec. The leaders of the former Soviet republics of Byelorussia, Russia and Ukraine meet at Mminsk to declare an end to the Soviet Union and the establishment of the “Commonwealth of Independent States.”

21 Dec. Eleven leaders of former republics gather in Asia at Alma Alta to confirm the CIS and the end of the Soviet Union.

1991- Dec. 31- Gorbachev resigns-- the fall of the Soviet Union..

1992- -Yeltsin becomes president of the new Russian Republic. The privatization of state-run industries. Due to lack of a legal framework, former Soviet managers steal much of the wealth and form a new class of robber barons who manage gradually to seize control of the country.
The use of Harvard-trained, radical, free-market economists only worsens the situation.

1992- China joins the UN coalition in the First Gulf War.

China, Russia and Central Asian Cooperation.

-U.S. President Clinton obtains alliances and military cooperation with the nations of the Caspian basin in order to protect U.S. access to the area's gas and oil

1996- China, Russia, Kazakstan, Kygyztsan and Tajikstan meet to cooperate in dealing with ethnic and relgious tensions in one another's countries.

1998-the Russian Mir Space Station and the US Space Shuttle program cooperate in an International Space Station.

-the Russian economy begins a recovery due to rising oil revenues.

1999-2003- the Russian economy grown 33%

1999- Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic join NATO.

-Yeltsin retires from office, appoints Vladimir Putin his successor.

Putin elected President of Russia: Friendship with China.

2000- Putin, Yeltsin’s protégé, is elected president.

-Russia signs friendship treaty with China

-US president Bush tables his National Missile Defense (NMD) system.

2001- China, Russia and four Central Asian countries form the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to combat ethnic and religious militants and enhance trade. They are known as the Shanghai Five.

US-China ties Strengthened.

Nov- China admitted to the WTO.

2002- Feb.- US President Bush makes a state visit to Beijing.

US-Russia ties Strengthened in wake of 9/11

2002- Russia agrees to form NATO- Russia Council as part of the War on Terror.

-Russia and US agree to strategic nuclear arms reduction.

Russian worries over Encroachment by EU, NATO and US Missile programs.

2003- May -pipeline begun from Baku, Azerbaijan, through Georgia to Ceyhan in Turkey.

2004- Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia join the European Union.

2005- China passes a law allowing the use of force if Taiwan attempts independence.

May- President Bush visits Georgia, calling it a 'beacon of liberty'.

Feb- Russia signs deal with Iran to sell nuclear fuel for Iran’s Bicheher nuclear reactor and in return Iram will send Russia its spent fuel rods.

-nationalist Taiwan president Lien Chan visits China. The first visit between Taiwan and Chinese heads of state since 1949.

Russia and China Strengthen Ties.

August- joint military exercises held by Russia and China.

-Russia sells missiles to Iran.

2006- March- Putin signs gas deal with China.

Sept-Oct- 4 Russians held as spies in Georgia during wrangle with Russia over seceding regions of Gerorgia and its membership in NATO.

2007- January- China tests a missile, shooting down an old weather satellite. US and Japan are apprehensive about Chinese military build-up.

February- President Hu Jintao tours eight African countries as the West criticizes China for dealing with corrupt and repressive regimes.

Murmurs of Revival of Cold War style US-Russian arms race

-May- Russia test-fires a long-range Missile and talks of a new arms race amid US plans to place missile defence system in Eastern Europe.

2007- June- Putin delivers a strong protest over US plans to install an anti-missile defense system in Eastern Europe, ellegedly intended to cover Iran. To George Bush, he proposes Azerbaijan as an alternative.

-despite a friendly meeting in Maine between Bush and Putin, Bush refuses to cancel his plans for a missile defence system in eastern Europe.

July- the Russian defence minister threatens to set up a defensive missile system in Kaliningrad, north east of Poland, on the Baltic, if the US doesn’e withdraw its plans for a missile defense.

August- Russia extends territorial claims to north pole.

November -Putin suspends Russian participation in the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty which limits the deployment of heavy military equipment across Europe.

-Russia says it has withdrawn remaining troops from Georgia but retains some troops in breakaway areas of South Ossetia and Abkhzia.

2008- January- Russia begins naval exercises in neutral waters off France's Bay of Biscay- reminiscent of former Soviet practice.

May- Russia's Medvedev and China's Hu Jintao sign an statemnt rejecting U.S. plans for of a nuclear missile shield.


Georgia attacks Ossetia Separatists, Sparking war with Russia.

August- Georgia mounts military attack on breakway forces in separatist region of South Ossetia. Moscow responds with a full invasion in defence of its Ossetian Russian citizens, occupying South Ossetia in and part of Georgia.

After occupying parts of Georgia, Russia signs a French-brokered peace with Georgia and withdraws its troops.

-Georgians and western nations protest after President Medvedev recognizes the independence of Abkazia and South Ossetia.

Russia Hit By Credit Crunch.

September- Russian stock market takes large losses with the US-made world credit crisis and especially with the fall in oil prices.

October- Moscow approves a $68 billion aid package to help banks hit by the credit crunch.

Russia Plans Missiles in Kalminingrad.

November- President Medvendenko announces plans to place short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave to counter the US missile shield in central Europe.

-the standard presidential term is extended from four to six years in an overwhelming vote by partliament.

2009- Moscow cuts off gas supplies to Ukraine in dispute over gas prices and unpaid bills, causing severe gas shortages in southeastern Europe.

Russia suspends plans to place short-range missles in Kaliningrad after what it says is a more reasonable position adopted by the Obama government over the US missi shield in Central Europe.

April- counter-terrorrism operations are ended in Chechnya after President Medvedev says life has largely rfeturned to normal.


Medvedev and Obama agree to Nuclear Arms Reductions

July- in an attempt to replace the 1991 Start-1 Treaty, Medvedev and visiting President Obama agree to work on a new agreement on the reduction of nuclear weapons.

-Nataliya Estimatova, a human rights worker is found dead in Chechnya.

2009- September- President Medvedev lauds a US move to cancel the nuclear weapons shield in Poland and Czecholslovakia.

Putin`s United Russia Party wins local elections amid allegations of electoral fraud.

October- the reigning United Russia party announces victories in local elections across Russia. Opposition parties accuse the government of rigging the polls.

2009 November - Dozens are killed when a bomb blast causes the derailment of a Moscow-St Petersburg express train.

2010- Jan- 3 Islamist guerillas killed by Russian police in Dagestan after killing 3 police officers.

February- Ulkraine- Viktor Yanukovish defeats Yulia Tymoshenko in national elections.

Chechen Suicide Attacks in Moscow Subway. 

2010 March - Thirty-nine people are killed and more than 60 injured in two suicide bomb attacks on the Moscow Metro. The government blames Muslim militants from the North Caucasus.

March - Chechen Muslim women kill 39 on  Moscow subway in double suicide bombing.

March: Coup in Kyrgyztan: Roza Otunbayevaat head of Kyrgyzatan opposition overthrows president Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Russia and US: agreement on Nuclear arms Reduction.

2010 April - President Medvedev signs a new strategic arms agreement with his US counterpart Barack Obama. The new Start deal commits the former Cold War foes to cut arsenals of deployed nuclear warheads by about 30 percent.


Spy scandal

2010 June - Presidents Medvedev and Obama mark warming in ties on the Russian leader's first visit to the White House. Obama says the US will back Russia's World Trade Organisation accession, and Russia will allow the US to resume poultry exports.


Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hopes arrests of 10 alleged Russian spies in the US will not harm US-Russian relations.

June- 2000 killed in Kygyzstan in ethnic violence.


2010 July - A customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan comes into force despite Belarusian complaints about Russia retaining duties on oil and gas exports to its neighbours.

2010 August - A spate of wildfires triggered by a severe heat wave kills dozens of people and devastates crops. Russia - in 2009 the world's third largest wheat exporter - imposes a ban on grain exports, pushing up worldwide wheat prices.

2010 September - Prime Minister Putin hints that he might stand for the presidency again in 2012 in comments to foreign reporters and scholars.

Russia and Norway sign an agreement to delineate their Arctic maritime border, thereby opening up the possible exploitation of oil and gas fields on the sea bed.

Suicide bomber kills three Russian Soldiers in Dagestan. 


September- Suicide bomber kills 17 in North Ossetia.


2010 October - President Medvedev sacks the powerful mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, after weeks of criticism of the from Kremlin. Mr Luzhkov had been in office since 1992.

November- Russian journalist Adam Adamchuk beaten after critical reports on protested highway project through the Khimki forest.
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