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    Does China pose a territorial threat to Russia?

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    MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti) - The Chinese are already settling in large numbers in Siberia and Russia's Far East, and some experts do not rule out that sooner or later there will be no Russians left in these areas. Izevstia, a respected daily, invited experts and politicians to comment on the issue.

    Sergei Darkin, the governor of the Far Eastern region of the Maritime territory: This is an invented problem. China is our neighbor and important strategic partner. The Maritime territory accounts for 10% of Russia's trade with China and we are working proactively to increase it. The sides are taking measures to develop free, visa-free border trade. Indeed, 140 million people live in China's two border provinces, whereas 2 million live in the Maritime territory. However, the situation is completely under control and there is no threat to these areas. About 140,000 Chinese tourists come to us every year and another 10,000 people arrive in search of jobs.

    Professor Fyodor Shelov-Kovedyayev of the Higher School of Economics: China undoubtedly represents a serious challenge not only to Russia but also to the whole of Euro-Atlantic civilization. Although China does not declare this, it still believes in the idea of the Celestial Empire, which has a mandate from the heavens to rule the world. When it has become strong enough, this formula will be presented to everyone. China only pretends to be a pragmatic project pursuing Western modernization. There are hundreds of millions of Chinese emigrants doing business across the world and are loyal only to China. Sooner or later China will need control over Russia's resources.

    Boris Reznik, a deputy of the State Duma (lower house of parliament) from the Far Eastern Khabarovsk territory: China does not yet pose a direct threat to us, but its creeping expansion is a reality. The Russian Far East is practically unsettled by anyone: before 1995 there were about 7 million residents in 13 Federation subjects. About 1.2 million have left over the past decade. More and more Chinese are coming to these areas. They settle, take over the food and clothes markets, and open restaurants. There are more Chinese traders than Russians. Armed threats are not the only way: if we do not pay more attention to developing the Russian Far East, the Chinese will settle there forever.

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