Sino-Pakistan Agreement

The Sino-Pakistan Agreement (also known as the Sino-Pakistan Frontier Agreement and Sino-Pak Boundary Agreement) is a 1963 document between the governments of Pakistan and China establishing the border between those countries.[1]

It resulted in China ceding over 1,942 square kilometres (750 sq mi) to Pakistan and Pakistan recognizing Chinese sovereignty over hundreds of square kilometers of land in Northern Kashmir and Ladakh.[2][3] The agreement is not recognized as legal by India, which also claims sovereignty over part of the land. In addition to increasing tensions with India, the agreement shifted the balance of the Cold War by bringing Pakistan and China closer together while loosening ties between Pakistan and the United States.

Issue and resultEdit

Border claims prior to the agreement

In 1959, Pakistan became concerned that Chinese maps showed areas of Pakistan in China. In 1961, Ayub Khan sent a formal Note to China, there was no reply.

After Pakistan voted to grant China a seat in the United Nations, the Chinese withdrew the disputed maps in January 1962, agreeing to enter border talks in March. The willingness of the Chinese to enter the agreement was welcomed by the people of Pakistan. Negotiations between the nations officially began on October 13, 1962 and resulted in an agreement being signed on 2 March 1963.[1] It was signed by foreign ministers Chen Yi for the Chinese and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for the Pakistani.

The agreement resulted in China and Pakistan each withdrawing from about 1,900 square kilometres (750 square miles) of territory, and a boundary on the basis of the 1899 British Note to China as modified by Lord Curzon in 1905. Indian writers have insisted that in this transaction, Pakistan surrendered 5,300 km2 (2,050 sq mi) of territory to China (to which they believe it had no right in the first place). In fact, if anything, Pakistan gained a bit of territory, around 52 km2 (20 sq mi), south of the Khunjerab Pass. The 'claim' supposedly given up by Pakistan was the area north of the Uprang Jilga River which also included the Raksam Plots where the Mir of Hunza had enjoyed taxing and grazing rights throughout much of the late 19th Century as part of agreements with Chinese authorities in Sinkiang. Despite this, sovereignty over area was never challenged by the Mir of Hunza, the British or the State of Jammu and Kashmir. [4]

Official agreementEdit

The text of the agreement was as follows:[5]

The Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Pakistan; having agreed, with a view to ensuring the prevailing peace and tranquility on their respective border, to formally delimit and demarcate the boundary between China's Sinkiang and the contiguous areas the defence of which is under the actual control of Pakistan, in a spirit of fairness, reasonableness, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation, and on the basis of the ten principles as enunciated in the Bandung conference. Being convinced that this would not only give full expression to the desire of the people of China and Pakistan for the development of good neighbourly and friendly relations, but also help safeguard Asian and world peace.

Have resolved for this purpose to conclude the present agreement and have appointed as their respective plenipotentiaries the following.

For the Government of the People's Republic of China; Chen Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

For the Government of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Minister of External Affairs.

Who, having mutually examined their full powers and found them to be in good and due form have agreed upon following:

Article 1 In view of the fact that the boundary between China's Sinkiang and the contiguous areas the defence of which is under the actual control of Pakistan has never been formally delimited, two parties agree to delimit it on the basis of the traditional customary boundary line including features and in a spirit of equality, mutual benefit and friendly cooperation.

Article 2 In accordance with the principle expounded in Article 1 of the present agreement, the two parties have fixed as follows the alignment of the entire boundary line between China's Sinkiang and the contiguous areas the defence of which is under the actual control of Pakistan.[1]

1 Commencing from its north western extremity at height 5,630 metres (a peak the reference coordinates of which are approximately longitude 74 degrees 34 minutes east and latitude 37 degrees 3 minutes north), the boundary line runs generally eastward and then South-eastward strictly along the main watershed between the tributaries of the Tashkurgan River of the Tarim river system on the one hand on the tributes of the Hunza river of the Indus river system on the other hand, passing through the Kilik Daban (Dawan), the Mintake Daban (pass), the Kharchanai Daban (named on the Chinese map only), the Mutsgila Daban (named on the Chinese map only) and the Parpik Pass (named on the Pakistan map only) and reaches the Khunjerab (Yutr) Daban (Pass).
2 After passing through the Khunjerab (Yutr) Daban (pass) the boundary line runs generally southward along the above-mentioned main watershed up to a mountain-top south of the Daban (pass), where it leaves the main watershed to follow the crest of a spur lying generally in a south-easterly direction, which is the watershed between the Akjilga river ( a nameless corresponding river on the Pakistan map) on the one hand, and the Taghumbash (Oprang) river and the Koliman Su (Oprang Jilga) on the other hand. According to the map of the Chinese side, the boundary line, after leaving the south-eastern extremity of the spur, runs along a small section of the middle line of the bed of the Koliman Su to reach its confluence with the Kelechin river. According to the map of the Pakistan side, the boundary line, after leaving the south-eastern extremity of this spur, reaches the sharp bend of the Shaksgam or Muztagh river.
3 From the aforesaid point, the boundary lines runs up the Kelechin river (Shaksgam or Muztagh river) along the middle line of its bed its confluence (reference coordinates approximately longitude 76 degrees 2 minutes east and latitude 36 degrees 26 minutes north) with the Shorbulak Daria (Shimshal river or Braldu river).
4 From the confluence of the aforesaid two rivers, the boundary line, according to the map of the Chinese side, ascends the crest of a spur and runs along it to join the Karakoram range main watershed at a mountain-top (reference coordinates approximately longitude 75 degrees 54 minutes east and latitude 36 degrees 15 minutes north) which on this map is shown as belonging to the Shorgulak mountain. According to the map of the Pakistan side, the boundary line from the confluence of the above mentioned two river ascends the crest of a corresponding spur and runs along it, passing through height 6.520 meters (21,390 feet) until it joins the Karakoram range main watershed at a peak (reference coordinates approximately longitude 75 degrees 57 minutes east and latitude 36 degrees 3 minutes north).
5 Thence, the boundary line, running generally south-ward and then eastward strictly follows the Karakoram range main watershed which separates the Tarim river drainage system from the Indus river drainage system, passing through the east Mustagh Pass (Muztagh pass), the top of the Chogri peak (K2) the top of the Broad Peak, the top of the Gasherbrum mountain (8,068), the Indirakoli pass (names of the Chinese maps only) and the top of the Teram Kangri peak, and reaches its south-eastern extremity at the Karakoram Pass. Then alignment of the entire boundary line as described in section one of this article, has been drawn on the one million scale map of the Pakistan side in English which are signed and attached to the present agreement. In view of the fact that the maps of the two sides are not fully identical in their representation of topographical features the two parties have agreed that the actual features on the ground shall prevail, so far as the location and alignment of the boundary described in section one is concerned, and that they will be determined as far as possible by bgint survey on the ground.

Article 3 The two parties have agreed that:

i) Wherever the boundary follows a river, the middle line of the river bed shall be the boundary line; and that
ii) Wherever the boundary passes through a deban (pass) the water-parting line thereof shall be the boundary line.

Article 4 One the two parties have agreed to set up, as soon as possible, a joint boundary demarcation commission. Each side will appoint a chairman (Chaudry Mohammad Aslam for the Pakistani side), one or more members and a certain number of advisers and technical staff. The joint boundary demarcation commission is charged with the responsibility in accordance with the provisions of the present agreement, to hold concrete discussions on and carry out the following tasks jointly.

1) To conduct necessary surveys of the boundary area on the ground, as stated in Article 2 of the present agreement so as to set up boundary markers at places considered to be appropriate by the two parties and to delineate the boundary line of the jointly prepared accurate maps.
To draft a protocol setting forth in detail the alignment of the entire boundary line and the location of all the boundary markers and prepare and get printed detailed maps, to be attached to the protocol, with the boundary line and the location of the boundary markers shown on them.
2) The aforesaid protocol, upon being signed by representatives of the governments of the two countries, shall become an annex to the present agreement, and the detailed maps shall replace the maps attached to the present agreement.
3) Upon the conclusion of the above-mentioned protocol, the tasks of the joint boundary demarcation commission shall be terminated.

Article 5 The two parties have agreed that any dispute concerning the boundary which may arise after the delimitation of boundary line actually existing between the two countries shall be settled peacefully by the two parties through friendly consultations.

Article 6 The two parties have agreed that after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the Government of the People's Republic of China on the boundary as described in Article. Two of the present agreement, so as to sign a formal boundary treaty to replace the present agreement, provided that in the event of the sovereign authority being Pakistan, the provisions of the present agreement and of the aforesaid protocol shall be maintained in the formal boundary treaty to be signed between the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Article 7 The present agreement shall come into force on the data of its signature.

Done in duplicate in Peking on the second day of March 1963, in the Chinese and English languages, both side being equally authentic.


The agreement was moderately economically advantageous to Pakistan, which received grazing lands in the deal, but of far more significance politically, as it both diminished potential for conflict between China and Pakistan and, Syed indicates, "placed China formally and firmly on record as maintaining that Kashmir did not, as yet, belong to India.[6] Time, reporting on the matter in 1963, expressed the opinion that by signing the agreement Pakistan had further "dimmed hopes of settlement" of the Kashmir conflict between Pakistan and India. Under this Sino-Pakistan Agreement, Pakistani control to a part of northern Kashmir was recognized by China.[1]

During this period, China was in dispute with India regarding Kashmir's eastern boundary, with India making claims of the border having been demarcated beforehand and China making claims that such demarcations had never happened. Pakistan and China recognized in their agreement that the border had been neither delimited nor demarcated, providing support to the Chinese position.[7]

For Pakistan, which had border disputes on its eastern and western borders, the agreement provided relief by securing its northern border from any future contest. The Treaty also provided for clear a demarcation of the boundary for Pakistan, which would continue to serve as the boundary even after Kashmir dispute might be resolved.[7]

According to Jane's International Defence Review, the agreement was also of significance in the Cold War, as Pakistan had ties with the United States and membership in the Central Treaty Organization and the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization.[8] The agreement was part of an overall tightening of association with China for Pakistan, which resulted in Pakistan's distancing from the United States.[8][9][10] After defining borders, the two countries also entered into agreements with respect to trade and air-travel, the latter of which was the first such international agreement China had entered with a country that was not Communist.[11]

Relation to the claim by the Republic of ChinaEdit

The Republic of China now based in and commonly known as Taiwan does not recognize any Chinese territorial changes based on any border agreements signed by the People's Republic of China with any other countries, including this one,in accordance to the Constitution of the Republic of China and its Additional Articles. Pakistan does not recognize the ROC as a state. [12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Signing with the Red Chinese". Time (magazine). 15 March 1963. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  2. ^ NOORANI, A.G. (14 January 2012). "Map fetish" (Volume 29 - Issue 01). Frontline. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  3. ^ Ahmed, Ishtiaq (1998), State, Nation and Ethnicity in Contemporary South Asia, A&C Black, p. 148, ISBN 978-1-85567-578-0: "As a friendly gesture some territory in the northern areas was surrendered to China and a treaty was signed which stated that there were no border disputes between the two countries."
  4. ^ Lamb, Alastair (1991). "Kashmir A Disputed Legacy 1846-1990" (2nd Impression). Oxford University Press. pp.40, 51, 70. ISBN 0-19-577424-8.
  5. ^ The Geographer. Office of the Geographer. Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Department of State, United States of America (15 November 1968), China – Pakistan Boundary (PDF), International Boundary Study, 85, Florida State University College of Law, archived from the original (PDF) on 11 February 2012, retrieved 28 October 2019
  6. ^ "Factbox: India and China border dispute festers". Reuters. 15 November 2006.
  7. ^ a b Yousafzai, Usman Khan. 1963 Sino-Pak Treaty: A Legal Study into the Border Delimitation between Pakistan and China. ISBN 979-8675050000.
  8. ^ a b "Strategic and security issues: Pakistan-China defense co-operation an enduring relationship". Jane's International Defence Review. 1 February 1993. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  9. ^ Dixit, Jyotindra Nath (2002). India-Pakistan in War & Peace. Routledge. p. 141. ISBN 0-415-30472-5.
  10. ^ Mitra, Subrata Kumar; Mike Enskat; Clemens Spiess (2004). Political parties in South Asia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 157. ISBN 0-275-96832-4.
  11. ^ Syed, 93-94.
  12. ^ "ROC Chronology: Jan 1911 – Dec 2000". Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2009. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs declares border agreements signed between the Peking regime and Outer Mongolia and Pakistan illegal and not binding on the ROC.“