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N. Korea, Russia to Redraw Border along Tumen River

Posted August. 07, 2008 06:23,   


North Korea and Russia have decided to redraw their border along the Tumen River stretching 17 kilometers.

A Moscow diplomatic source said yesterday, “Russia is reviewing a new agreement on a new border based on topographical changes after finishing checks and examinations on the border along the Tumen River.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry posted a letter on its Web site saying, “At the end of last year, Russia and North Korean agreed to hold a ministerial-level meeting to negotiate a new treaty on the Tumen River border area.”

The two countries will redraw their border for the first time in 18 years since Pyongyang and the former Soviet Union reached a similar accord in 1990.

In accordance with the 1990 agreement, both sides are expected to reach a consensus to mark their border in the working-level meeting, sign an agreement and commit to put it in writing.

Pyongyang and Moscow in 1990 had established a joint border investigation committee and inspected geographical transformations and border landmarks installed in the Tumen River area.

The onsite team found that floods in the river basin over the past decade dramatically changed the shape of the water channels, with significant numbers of border landmarks lost.

One official said, “The border settled in the middle of the Tumen River in 1990 is no longer acceptable.”

In 2004, Russian authorities built a levee on the Russian side of the river banks. At the time, a newspaper in Primorsky Krai said, “Compared to the 1980s, the water course has shifted its conduit as much as 250 meters.”

Russia is said to maintain its previous position on setting the border, but plan to change it based on geographical shifts of water channels.

Under this plan, the border will undergo a major change from that set in 1990. The newspaper said the 2004 topographical shift from waterway changes caused an estimated 30 square kilometers in the region to change territorial rights.