Olympic gift: Russia cedes island territory to China

Russia is expected to relinquish control of two of its islands to China on land near the border between the two countries. The island of Tarabarov as well as half of Bolshoy Ussuriysky island will be granted to the Chinese early in August.

Experts believe Russia’s move will put an end to the long-running border dispute between the countries. 

It is expected that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will officially announce the news on Monday, during his visit to China.

A similar agreement was signed in 2004, and in return, China agreed to drop all territorial claims to the remainder of Bolshoy Ussuriysky.

In 2005, the Russian State Duma and the Chinese National People's Congress approved the agreement.

But it is only three years later, just days before the Olympics kick off in Beijing, that the two sides are ready to implement their earlier decisions.

Valery Putov, head of the Far East boundary control at FSB Russia, said: “Demarcation work has finished, frontier stations re-established. Now all necessary documents need to be ratified by the governments of the two countries.”