As I know, there was no mobilization, nor public alarm in the USSR. Also Sino-Soviet friendship treaty continued to function as well as all trade agreements throughout the whole period of clashes.

How this was possible? Did Chinese government made it clear that the conflict will not escalate and all the treaties remain in force? What was the official version of the clashes?

I suspect two variants

  1. Chinese claimed that they were attacked themselves by the USSR but really wanted peace

  2. Chinese claimed that the attacks on Russian territory were by uncontrolled units or groups.

Maybe there could be other explanation. Who knows what was the official Chinese position in reality?

2 Answers 2


Sourced from http://www1.american.edu/ted/ice/ussuri.htm

TL;DR: "He started it!" "No HE started it!" "NO HE STARTED IT!!!!!" "OK, there's soccer match in 3 minutes, let's just say we are even" "sulk OK"

  • In May 1966, foreign minister Ch'en yi reiterated the Maoist theme in an interview with a group of visiting Scandinavian journalists: the Russians, he said, were thieves who had annexed one and a half million kilometers of Chinese territory in the nineteenth century and even afterward. In October, as the Revolution swirled around the gates of the Soviet embassy in Peking, the Moscow press charged that Chinese troops had begun to fire indiscriminately at Russian ships plying the Amur, and Occidental correspondents in Moscow reported that, according to a Soviet source, organized Chinese "people's" movements in the Amur region and Sinkiang were calling for the return of "lost territories".

  • On March 2, 1969, Chinese and Soviet forces clashed on obscure Damanski (Chen Pao) Island in the Ussuri River, and the Soviets suffered thirty-four killed. ... Then, in a note delivered to the Soviet embassy and published in Peking on March 13, the Chinese charged new Soviet aggressions in the disputed sector - as if building up a case.

  • A diplomatic exchange followed (the later March 15 clash). On the day after the clash, the Chinese Ministry for Foreign Affairs delivered a note to the Soviet embassy at Peking charging that a large number of Soviet forces accompanied by armored cars and tanks had penetrated Danamski Island "and the region west of that island". Chinese stated immediately that the Soviet government must bear the entire responsibility for all the grave consequences which could result from this.

    The Soviet government on the same day addressed to the Chinese government a note: "... provocation ... heavy with consequences"

    On March 29, 1969, the Soviet government delivered the declaration to the Chinese embassy in Moscow regarding Sino-Soviet relations (since you only asked for Chinese position, I'll omit the discussion of the 2 notes above)

    Peking in its April report to the congress acknowledged receipt of the Soviet offer and said that "our government is considering its reply to this".

    On May 12, Peking announced that it had sent a message to the Soviet Union accepting in principle the Soviet proposal for resumption of the work of the mixed commission for the regulation of traffic on the border rivers and proposing that the date be fixed for mid-June. Moscow agreed, naming June 18 as the exact date. A few days after that exchange, on May 18, the Peking, as if to demonstrate that there had been no Chinese surrender, denounced the "new Soviet tsars" policy of naval expansion.

    The Sino-Soviet frontier issue was still pending. The Chinese government complained that Soviet gunfire on the Ussuri had continued as an evident attempt to force negotiations, but in the end it agreed in principle to the Soviet proposal, suggesting that the date and place of the projected negotiations regarding the Sino-Soviet frontier be discussed and decided by the two parties through the diplomatic channel.

  • Thanks the site you linked seems to explain it: the Chinese claimed to be attacked first. It you re-write the answer to explain it, I will accept.
    – Anixx
    Jan 27, 2012 at 18:09
  • Sorry, had to run to meetings before I finished editing....
    – DVK
    Jan 27, 2012 at 21:38

I would add that the conflicts didn't stopped in sixties, it continued to seventies, as well. In the middle of seventies (sorry, don't know exactly, it is Info that I got from a captain of the Soviet Army tank forces, with which I was in the same hospital and he told me this as a participier) the SU finally attacked China territory in depth of up to 400 km. And they wanted to go further. But China declared the nuclear experiments in that area and the SU army returned. After that conflicted stopped for long.

But in china maps even now it is easy to see huge parts of Russia, most of its territory, belonging to China.

And now Putin had sold almost all Siberia resources to China, allowing them to put there their fctories and use only china workers. So, in 20-30 years, Siberia will be chinese.

And it diddn't started in sixties, too. In the 17th century China prepared mass attacks of 3 great armies with sweden consultants and guns, against all asian part of Russia. Only death of the emperor and the elder son and later conflict of two next sons, who were at command of two larger armies, prevented the occupation.

  • This is cool, but it really needs some link
    – o0'.
    Jan 29, 2012 at 11:13
  • 3
    Is there some confirmation of this? I don't seem to recall any Soviet 400km incursions into China from USSR in the 70s. 400km is pretty big - see history-map.com/picture/000/USSR-border-eastern-sector.htm . You are correct re: it didn't start in the 60s, but that's quite irrelevant to the question being asked
    – DVK
    Feb 1, 2012 at 15:11
  • Confirmation of what?
    – Gangnus
    Feb 1, 2012 at 16:35

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