China’s ironic reticence on land grab in Ukraine – by Jeff Pao (Asia Times – February 25, 2023)


Reviving map use of old Chinese names for Russian-conquered territory, Beijing won’t call out Moscow over Donbas

China’s newly-released plan to promote peace talks between Ukraine and Russia conspicuously fails to say clearly whether Moscow should withdraw its troops from the Donbas region now.

China’s foreign ministry released a 12-point statement on Friday, the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling on both sides to cease fire and open a dialogue to resolve their conflicts politically. The statement does not go beyond saying in generalized language that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries should be protected in accordance with international laws, including the UN Charter.

There is some irony here in the fact that China has, this very month, made a politically sensitive change in its official worldview – a change that affects Russia. The Ministry of Natural Resources on February 14 published a new version of its world map – directing a return to using the Chinese names of eight cities and areas occupied by the Russian Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Qing government lost large expanses of land in the northern region due to the invasion of the Russians. As Wikipedia recounts it, the story is that:

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