China–Pakistan border

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China–Pakistan border
Chinese-Pak border map.png
Map of the China-Pakistan border
EntitiesFlag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
Length592 kilometres (368 mi)
Established14 August 1947
Current shape15 March 1963
after ratification of the Sino-Pakistan Treaty
Treaties Sino-Pakistan Agreement

The China–Pakistan border is 592 kilometres (368 mi) and runs west-east from the tripoint with Afghanistan to the disputed tripoint with India in the vicinity of the Siachen Glacier. [1] It traverses the Karakorum Mountains, one of the world's tallest mountain ranges. Hunza District, Shigar District and Ghanche District in Gilgit-Baltistan administered by Pakistan border Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County and Kargilik/Yecheng County [2] in Kashgar Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China.


K2, the world's second-tallest mountain, lies on the border K2 2006b.jpg
K2, the world's second-tallest mountain, lies on the border


The modern border dates from the period of the British Raj when Britain controlled India, which then included what is now Pakistan. In 1899, the British, via its envoy to China Sir Claude MacDonald, proposed what became known as the MacDonald Line to the Chinese government, however the Chinese never responded to the proposal and thus this border was never formalised. [3]

Over the following decades a variety of maps were issues by all sides in the dispute, showing wildly varying boundaries. [3] India and Pakistan inherited the dispute upon independence in 1947, further complicated by their dispute over ownership of Jammu and Kashmir. The issue came to the fore in the early 1960s, at a time of intense tension in the region due to ongoing failure to solve the Indo-Pakistani dispute over Kashmir, a much larger Chinese presence in Tibet, and the Sino-Indian War of 1962 in which China had seized control of the Indian-claimed Aksai Chin region. In 1961 China and Pakistan agreed in principle to demarcate their common border; negotiations commenced the following year, with the final Sino-Pakistan Agreement being signed in 1963. [3] Both sides made concessions in the treaty, with Pakistan giving China the area around the Shaksgam Valley known as the Trans-Karakoram Tract. [3] Following the treaty a series of maps and aerial surveys of the border area were made and boundary pillars were installed. [3]


The 1963 Sino-Pakistani agreement delimited the boundary as follows: [3]

"Article Two … (1) Commencing from its northwestern extremity at height 5,630 metres (a peak, the reference co-ordinates of which are approximately Longitude 74° 34' E and Latitude 37° 03' N), the boundary line runs generally eastward and then southeastward strictly along the main watershed between the tributaries of the Tashkurgan River of the Tarim River system on the one hand and the tributaries of the Hunza River of the Indus River system on the other hand, passing through the Kilik Daban (Dawan), the Mintaka Daban (Pass), the Kharchanai Daban (named on the Chinese map only), the Kutejilga 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 mountaintop 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 Taghdumbash (Oprang River) and the Keliman Su (Oprang Jilga) on the other hand. According to the map of the Chinese side, the boundary line, after leaving the southeastern extremity of this spur, runs along a small section of the middle line of the bed of the Keliman Su to reach its confluence with the Kelechin River. According to the map of the Pakistan side, the boundary line, after leaving the southeastern extremity of this spur, reaches the sharp bend of the Shaksgam or Mustagh River.

(3) From the aforesaid point, the boundary line runs up the Kelechin River (Shaksgam or Muztagh River) along the middle line of its bed to its confluence (reference co-ordinates approximately Longitude 76° 02' E. and Latitude 36° 26' N.) with the Sorbulak 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 co-ordinates approximately Longitude 75° 54' E. and Latitude 36° 15' N.), which on this map is shown as belonging to the Shorbulak Mountain. According to the map of the Pakistan side, the boundary line from the confluence of the above-mentioned two rivers ascends the crest of a corresponding spur and runs along it; passing through Height 6,520 metres (21,300 feet) till it joins the Karakoram Range main watershed at a peak (reference co-ordinates approximately Longitude 75° 57' E. and Latitude 36° 03' N.).

(5) Thence, the boundary line, running generally southward 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 (8068) Indirakoli Pass (named on the Chinese map only) and the top of the Teram Kangri Peak, and reaches its southeastern extremity at the Karakoram Pass."

Disputed status

Khunjerab Pass, border crossing between China and Pakistan. Khunjerab Pass Gilgit-Baltistan.jpg
Khunjerab Pass, border crossing between China and Pakistan.

Pakistan maintains a territorial claim on the Indian-administered region of Ladakh (formerly a part of the Jammu and Kashmir state), which shares a border with China (see also: Line of Actual Control). The political map used by the Pakistani government annotates Ladakh's boundary with China as "frontier undefined", whose status would be formalised by "the sovereign authorities concerned after the settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute." [4] [5]

Conversely, the China–Pakistan border is not recognised by India, which claims the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in its entirety, a claim which negates any Sino-Pakistani border and indeed would give India a common border with Afghanistan. India refuses to recognise the legality of the 1963 Sino-Pakistan treaty or the cession of the Trans-Karakorum Tract (Shaksgam Valley) to China, a position further complicated by the fact that large sections of the rest of the China-India boundary are also disputed. [6] In 1984 India began moving troops to the hitherto unsettled Siachen glacier in Kashmir, thereby altering the de facto China-Inda-Pakistan tripoint. [7] [8] Article 6 of the 1963 Sino-Pakistan treaty provides for a renegotiation of the China-Pakistan boundary if the Kashmir dispute is resolved. However, with Indian relations still cool with China, and poor-to-hostile with Pakistan, it is unlikely the boundary dispute will be resolved soon.

Border crossings

The Khunjerab Pass is the only modern day border crossing between China and Pakistan, accessed via the Karakorum Highway. [9] Historically the Mintaka Pass and Kilik Pass have also been used; however those crossings do not have vehicle access and are closed.


See also



Related Research Articles

Khunjerab Pass

Khunjerab Pass is a 4,693-meter (15,397 ft)-high mountain pass in the Karakoram Mountains, in a strategic position on the northern border of Pakistan and on the southwest border of China (Xinjiang). Mutsjliga Pass is a 5,314-meter (17,434 ft)-high mountain pass at 36.97374°N 75.2973°E near Khunjerab Pass.

Hunza (princely state)

Hunza, also known as Kanjut, was a princely state in a subsidiary alliance with British India from 1892 to August 1947, for three months was unaligned, and then from November 1947 until 1974 was a princely state of Pakistan. Hunza covered territory now forming the northernmost part of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.

Karakoram Major mountain range spanning the borders between India, Pakistan, and China

The Karakoram is a mountain range spanning the borders of China, India, and Pakistan, with the northwest extremity of the range extending to Afghanistan and Tajikistan; its highest 15 mountains are all based in Pakistan. It begins in the Wakhan Corridor (Afghanistan) in the west, encompasses the majority of Gilgit-Baltistan, and extends into Ladakh and Aksai Chin. It is the second highest mountain range in the world and part of the complex of ranges including the Pamir Mountains, the Hindu Kush and the Himalayan Mountains. The Karakoram has eighteen summits over 7,500 m (24,600 ft) height, with four of them exceeding 8,000 m (26,000 ft): K2, the second highest peak in the world at 8,611 m (28,251 ft), Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II.

Karakoram Highway International highway running through Pakistan and China

The Karakoram Highway is a 1,300 km (810 mi) national highway which extends from Hasan Abdal in the Punjab province of Pakistan to the Khunjerab Pass in Gilgit-Baltistan, where it crosses into China and becomes China National Highway 314. The highway connects the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa plus Gilgit-Baltistan with China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The highway is a popular tourist attraction and is one of the highest paved roads in the world, passing through the Karakoram mountain range, at 36°51′00″N75°25′40″E at maximum elevation of 4,714 m (15,466 ft) near Khunjerab Pass. Due to its high elevation and the difficult conditions in which it was constructed, it is often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World. The highway is also a part of the Asian Highway AH4.

Mintaka Pass

The Mintaka Pass or Mingteke Pass or Mintika Pass(Chinese: 明铁盖达坂) is a mountain pass in the Karakorum Mountains, between Pakistan and Xinjiang in China. In ancient times, the Mintaka Pass and the nearby Kilik Pass, 30 km (19 mi) to the west, were the two main access points into Gojal from the north. The Hunza Valley is the mountainous valley near Gilgit in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. In addition, the two passes were also the routes used to reach Chalachigu Valley and Taghdumbash Pamir from the south. The name of the pass – Mintaka means "a thousand goats" in Kyrgyz.

Kilik Pass

The Kilik Pass, 2l) to the west of Mintaka Pass is a high mountain pass in the Karakorum Mountains between Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan and Xinjiang in China. The two passes were, in ancient times, the two main access points into the Upper Hunza Valley from the north. In addition, the two passes were also the paths used to reach Chalachigu Valley and Taghdumbash Pamir from the south.

Trans-Karakoram Tract Chinese-administered area in the northern half of Kashmir near the Shaksgam River

The Trans-Karakoram Tract, also known as Shaksgam or the Shaksgam Tract, is an area of more than 5,180 km2 (2,000 sq mi) north of the Karakoram, including the Shaksgam valley and Raskam. The tract is administered by the People's Republic of China as part of its Taxkorgan and Yecheng counties in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Although the area was not part of Kashmir or under Pakistan's control since 1947, it was claimed by Pakistan as part of Kashmir until the 1963 Sino-Pakistan Agreement. It is claimed by India as part of the union territory of Ladakh.

Yarkand River river in the Peoples Republic of China

The Yarkand River is a river in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of western China. It originates in the Rimo Glacier in a part of the Karakoram range and disputed between India, China and Pakistan, and flows into the Tarim River or Neinejoung River, with which it is sometimes identified. However, in modern times, the Yarkand river drains into the Shangyou Reservoir and exhausts its supply without reaching the Tarim river. The Yarkand River is approximately 1,332.25 km (827.82 mi) in length, with an average discharge of 210 m3/s (7,400 cu ft/s).

Karakoram Pass

The Karakoram Pass is a 5,540 m or 18,176 ft mountain pass between India and China in the Karakoram Range. It is the highest pass on the ancient caravan route between Leh in Ladakh and Yarkand in the Tarim Basin. 'Karakoram' literally means 'Black Gravel' in Mongolic.

Saltoro Mountains

The Saltoro Mountains are a subrange of the Karakoram Range. They are located in the southeast Karakoram on the southwest side of the Siachen Glacier, one of the two longest glaciers outside the polar regions. The name given to this range is shared with the Saltoro Valley which is located to the west of this range, downslope on the Pakistan side of the Saltoro Range which generally follows the Actual Ground Position Line. Saltoro Kangri peak, Saltoro River, and Saltoro Valley are features on this range. The Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) between Indian and Pakistan held area runs through this range, where the high peaks and passes of the Siachen area are held by India, whereas Pakistan occupies the lower peaks and valleys to the west.

Ghent Kangri

Ghent Kangri is a high peak near the north end of the Saltoro Mountains, a subrange of the Karakoram range. It is located west of the Siachen Glacier near the Actual Ground Position Line between India and Pakistan.

Bilafond La

Bilafond La (meaning "Pass of the Butterflies" in Balti language, also known as the Saltoro Pass, is a mountain pass situated on Saltoro Ridge, sitting immediately west of the vast Siachen Glacier, some 40 km directly north of map point NJ 980420 which defined the end of the 1972 Line of Control between Pakistan and India as part of the Simla Agreement. Bilafond La is on the ancient Silk Route linking the Indian Subcontinent and China.

Sia La

Sia La is a mountain pass situated on Saltoro Ridge, some 60 km (37 mi) north-northwest of map point NJ9842 which defined the end of the 1972 Line of Control between India and Pakistan as part of the Simla Agreement. Sia La sits near the China border and immediately northwest of the upper part of the vast Siachen Glacier, connecting that glacier to the Pakistani-controlled Kondus Glacier and valley to the west.

Daulat Beg Oldi Military Base in Ladakh, India

Daulat Beg Oldi is a traditional campsite and current military base located in the midst of the Karakoram Range in northern Ladakh, India. It is on the historic trade route between Ladakh and Central Asia, forming the last campsite before reaching the Karakoram Pass. It is said to be named after Sultan Said Khan, who died here on his return journey after an invasion of Ladakh and Kashmir. Chip Chap River, the main headwater of the Shyok River, flows just to the south. The Line of Actual Control with Chinese-controlled Aksai Chin is 5 miles to the east.

Shaksgam River

The Shaksgam River is a left tributary of the Yarkand River. The river is also known as the Kelechin River and Muztagh River. It rises in the Gasherbrum, Urdok, Staghar, Singhi and Kyagar Glaciers in the Karakoram. It then flows in a general northwestern direction parallel to the Karakoram ridge line in the Shaksgam Valley. It receives the waters of the Shimshal Braldu river and the Oprang river from the Pakistan-administered Hunza District before turning east and joining the Yarkand River. The stretch of the river's course between Shimshal Braldu and Oprang is used as the Pakistan–China border.

Actual Ground Position Line

The Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) divides current positions of Indian and Pakistani military posts and troops across the entire 110 kilometres (68 mi) long front line in the disputed region of Siachen Glacier. AGPL generally runs along the Saltoro Mountains range, beginning from the northernmost point of the (LOC) at Point NJ 9842 and ending in the north on the Indira Ridge at the India-China-Pakistan LAC tripoint near Sia Kangri about 4 km northwest of Indira Col West, with peaks in excess of 7,000 meters and temperatures ranging to around minus 55 celsius. India gained control of 1,000 square miles (2,600 km2) of disputed territory in 1984 because of its military operations in Siachen. A cease-fire was announced in 2003.

NJ9842, also called NJ 980420, is the northernmost demarcated point of the India-Pakistan cease fire line in Kashmir known as the Line of Control (LoC). The India–Pakistan AGPL, begins from the NJ9842 on LoC and ends near the Indira Ridge at the trijunction of areas controlled by China, India, and Pakistan.

Indira Col

Indira Col West is a mountain pass at 5,988 metres (19,646 ft)) altitude on the Indira Ridge of Siachen Muztagh in Karakoram Range. It is on the border between Indian-controlled Siachen Glacier and the Chinese-controlled Trans-Karakoram Tract, close to the tripoint of India, Pakistan, and China. The India-Pakistan Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in the Siachen area ends near the pass. It is possible to ascend the pass from both the north and south sides controlled by China and India respectively.

Afghanistan–China border

The border between Afghanistan and China is a 76-kilometre-long (47 mi) boundary, beginning at the tripoint of both countries with Pakistan administrated region of Kashmir (Gilgit-Baltistan), following the watershed along the Mustagh Range, and ending at the tripoint with Tajikistan. This short border is in the far northeast of Afghanistan, distant from much of the country or urban areas, at the end of the Wakhan Corridor. The Chinese side of the border is located in the Chalachigu Valley. Both sides of the border are nature reserves: Wakhan Corridor Nature Refuge in Wakhan District, Badakhshan Province on the Afghan side and Taxkorgan Nature Reserve in Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, Kashgar Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on the Chinese side. The border is crossed by several mountain passes including Wakhjir Pass in the south and Tegermansu Pass in the north.

Dhalan Village in Jammu and Kashmir, India

Dhalan is a village located on a river bank in Jammu district of Jammu and Kashmir union territory of India. Dhalan is located on the India-Pakistan LoC, which begins just north of Dahlan. The important geostrategic Chicken's Neck military sector of Pakistan lies southeast of Dhalan.


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