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Sino-Soviet border conflict|
The Sino-Soviet border conflict (中苏边界冲突) was a seven-month military conflict between the Soviet Union and China at the height of the Sino-Soviet split in 1969. The most serious of these border clashes occurred in March 1969 in the vicinity of Zhenbao Island (珍宝岛) on the Ussuri River, also known as Damanskii Island (Остров Даманский) in Russia. Chinese historians most commonly refer to the conflict by the Zhenbao Island incident (珍宝岛自卫反击战)  The conflict was finally resolved with future border demarcations.
The deterioration of Sino-Soviet relations in the late 1950s and early 1960s resulted in tensions along the 4,380 km (2,738 mi) border between China and the Soviet Union. A particularly serious incident occurred in May, 1962, when 60,000 ethnic Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang Province crossed the frontier into the Soviet Union, fleeing the desperate economic conditions. Beijing immediately accused the Soviets of subverting the Uyghur population, a charge that was later supported by some Chinese historiography, though never independently verified.
Sino-Soviet border conflict
Zhenbao Island and the border.
Traditional Chinese 中蘇邊界衝突
Simplified Chinese 中苏边界冲突
Russian Пограничный конфликт на острове Даманский
Romanization Pograničnyj konflikt na ostrove Damanskij
Amid heightening tensions, the Soviet Union and China began border talks. The Chinese position was that the 19th-century border treaties, concluded by the Qing dynasty China and the Tsarist Russia, were "unequal", and amounted to unfair annexation of the Chinese territory. Moscow could not accept this interpretation. By 1964 the two sides were able to reach a preliminary agreement on the eastern section of the border, including Zhenbao Island, which, it was agreed, would be handed over to the Chinese side.
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 Uyghur Autonomous Region and the Soviet Republic of Tajikistan. In 1892, the Russian Empire and the Qing Dynasty had agreed to mark the border along the ridge of the Sarikol Range, but the exact location of the border remained an area of contention throughout the 20th century. Beginning in the 1960s, the Chinese demanded that the Soviet Union evacuate the region.
In July 1964, Mao Zedong, in a meeting with a Japanese socialist delegation, stated that Tsarist Russia had stripped China of vast territories in Siberia and the Far East as far as Kamchatka. Mao announced that China still had not presented a bill for this list. Outraged by Mao's comments, which were leaked to the public, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev refused to approve the border agreements, which had already been reached.
Since around 1900, after the Treaty of Beijing, where Russia gained Outer Manchuria, the east side of the border had mainly been demarcated by three rivers, the Argun River from the triparty junction with Mongolia to the north tip of China, running southwest to northeast, then the Amur River to Khabarovsk from northeast to southwest, where it was joined by Ussuri River running southeast to northwest. Because of Chinese weakness, the Ussuri River was demarcated in non-standard manner: the demarcation line was on the right (Chinese) side of the river, putting the river with all islands in Russian possession.
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.