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Peking, Treaty of


The Treaty of Peking (November 14, 1860) confirmed and extended the territorial gains Russia had wrested from China in the Treaty of Aigun (1858). By its terms, the eastern boundary between the two empires was set along the Amur and Ussuri Rivers. The Ussuri boundary gave Russia possession of what became the Maritime Province (Primorskii Krai). Vladivostok, the major city of the Russian Far East, was established in this territory, providing direct access to the Sea of Japan and through the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, the Treaty of Peking was the foundation of Russia's attempts to become a Pacific power. The treaty also established, for the first time, a Russo-Chinese boundary line in the west (Central Asia) according to Russian demands, and provided for the opening of Russian consulates in Urga (Mongolia) and Kashgar (Xinjiang). The entire border was opened to free trade between the two empires.

General Nikolai Ignatiev, appointed Russia's minister to China in 1859, took advantage of the Second Opium War, an Anglo-French conflict with China, to advance Russia's imperial interests. At a moment of supreme danger to the Qing court, whose capital Beijing the Anglo-French forces had already occupied and ransacked, Ignatiev offered his services as mediator to the beleaguered Chinese. He urged them to accede to the demands of the Anglo-French expeditionary force while promising to intercede with his fellow Westerners on behalf of the Chinese. In exchange for his services, which were actually superfluous, he demanded and received China's acceptance of Russia's own territorial, diplomatic, and commercial demands.

By the Treaty of Peking, Russia became a full-fledged player in the Western imperialist assault upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and sowed the seeds of Chinese anger that matured during the twentieth century.

See also: aigun, treaty of; china, relations with


Clubb, O. Edmund. (1971). China and Russia : The "Great Game." New York: Columbia University Press.

Mancall, Mark. (1971). Russia and China: Their Diplomatic Relations to 1728. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Paine, S. C. M. (1997). Imperial Rivals: Russia, China, and Their Disputed Frontier. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.

Quested, Rosemary. (1984). Sino-Russian Relations: A Short History. Sydney: George Allen and Unwin.

Tien-fong Cheng. (1973). A History of Sino-Russian Relations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (reprint of Public Affairs Press, 1957).

Steven I. Levine

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