chapter  12
Sino-Mongol Border: From Conflict to Precarious Resolution
ByMorris Rossabi
Pages 22

Morris Rossabi Mongolia’s position between two great empires has shaped its modern boundaries and its border disputes. Before the 17th century, the boundaries between Mongolia, China, and Russia had not been well defined. The Mongol nomadic lifestyle precluded a careful delineation of frontiers, and China’s tribute system of foreign relations, which treated foreigners as vassals and so could not conceive of diplomatic parity, prevented it from negotiating on border issues with alleged subjects of the emperor. A treaty would presume equality with the Mongol peoples and confederations, an untenable proposition for most Chinese dynasties.