Dalwoong Choi

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kent, Frederick G.||Thomas, M. Ladd||Sherbenou, Edgar

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


China--Foreign relations--Soviet Union; Soviet Union--Foreign relations--China


The author of this thesis set himself the task of analyzing the past and present-day components of the Russo-Chinese territorial and ideological dispute. The examination of the historical relations between Russia and China revealed that since the eighteenth century, there had been repeated Russian pressure against Chinese territory. The net result of the several treaties signed by the two countries was this: the Russians secured much greater economic advantages than the Chinese, and the Chinese lost vast territories to the Russians. All this happened during the time when a strong Russia followed an imperialistic policy in Asia which China was too weak to block. After the unification of the Chinese mainland by the Communists in 1949, friendly Sino-Soviet relations were established in conformity with Communist ideology. However, this amicable relationship was not a lasting one. A new hostile attitude of the two countries toward each other developed in the late 1950's in the field of ideology which in reality was only camouflaging the much deeper traditional differences of national interests. The real issues in the dispute are: 1) The Communist Chinese wish to regain the extensive territories which had been either part of, or at least under the control of Imperial China, but which now belong to the U.S.S.R. The Chinese act in conformity with their 3,000-year old theory under which any territory which was once controlled by China remains a part of China, even if it was "temporarily" lost. 2) Red China of today, with her more than 700 million inhabitants, is greatly overpopulated. Hence, the former Chinese territories, now under Soviet control and sparsely populated, invite Chinese territorial action. 3) Each of the two countries is permeated by a strong nationalism and patriotism, and the Chinese are further driven by a feeling of racial superiority. 4) Red China is very ambitious and desires world power status— nuclear, political and economic. Current Russian policies hinder the Chinese effort to achieve this objective. 5) The Chinese, a "have not" nation, demonstrate their willingness to wage war against the "prosperous, imperialistic countries" which at present would include Russia, But according to Mao's doctrine on this point, China would be willing to use force only from a position of superiority of power which would presuppose Chinese nuclear capability. As the Chinese so far have neither the A-bomb nor a highly developed industrial economy, prerequisite for a true world power, they have not resorted to any large-scale use of force against the Soviets in order to regain their lost territories. Instead the Chinese leaders currently attack Russia only in terms of ideology, a field in which Russia is open to criticism without too much risk for China. However, this surface ideological dispute cannot conceal the underlying territorial claims and national ambitions of the Chinese. So far, the verbal ideological exchanges between Russia and China have been accompanied only by minor border violations and by recent reinforcement policies of Industrialization, ©migration and military fortification undertaken by both countries. The Russians are evidently striving to hold the territories they possess, and the Chinese are attempting to regain what has been lost. Due to all these factors, it seems highly improbable that the Sino-Soviet current dispute could be terminated by a permanent peaceful settlement. In the author’s opinion, this dispute will continue in its verbal, ideological form until the time when Red China becomes a nuclear power with a strong industrial economy. The author also believes that Red China will then not hesitate to take advantage of her man-power superiority and will engage in a major military struggle against the Soviet Union. It seems that the question is not whether a military conflict will materialize or not, but rather, when it will arrive and how severe it will be.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes maps.


iv, 109 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type