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Brady Knox, Breaking News Reporter


NextImg:China issues rare rebuke to Russia over border incident

The Chinese Embassy issued a rare rebuke to Russia after an incident at the border of the two countries.

According to a post on the Chinese Embassy's Weibo account, a Chinese social media site, Russian border police detained and interrogated for four hours a group of Chinese citizens who were traveling through the country on their way to Kazakhstan. The incident “seriously damaged the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens,” and the embassy pressed Russian authorities to further look into it.

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FILE - Russian matryoshka dolls with portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin are displayed among others for sale at a souvenir shop in Moscow, Russia, on March 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov, File)


The embassy retained a diplomatic tone with the post, however, noting that the incident was "inconsistent with the overall situation of friendly Sino-Russian relations and the trend of increasingly close friendly exchanges of personnel between the two countries."

The embassy said that it was quick to get into contact with authorities and "calmed down the emotions of the parties involved," soon after which the situation was cleared up. It made its complaints heard with representatives from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Border Service, and the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the Soviet KGB.

The post also included an explanation from the Russian side, which stressed that the encounter was "only a single incident" and promised that the country does not discriminate against Chinese citizens. The reason for the mix-up was that the actual destination did not match that on the Chinese citizens' visas, in violation of Russian law. Nevertheless, the embassy asked Russian authorities to look further into what caused the violation.

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The incident is one of the first major public rifts in Sino-Russian relations since the latter's invasion of Ukraine, which China has refused to condemn. Russia has become increasingly reliant on the Asian power since Western sanctions in response to the war cut it off from Western trade.

Relations between the two allies are at a historical high, following the low point of a minor border war between China and the Soviet Union in 1969. Despite this, the border incident shows that fractures still exist below the surface.