Territorial Exchange: Love and Kill Between Neighbors

  Throughout the ages, there have been countless disputes and battles over border issues between neighboring countries, from Cyprus to Ukraine, from the Middle East to the Balkans. However, just as the New Year’s bell rang in 2018, the “territorial exchange agreement” between Belgium and the Netherlands came into effect in a friendly atmosphere, which makes people sigh: the original territorial issue can still be so indifferent. just solve it.
  Diversion of rivers troubles Belgium and Netherlands
  Rivers and mountains often serve as natural national borders, and their presence is so stable and conspicuous that their use as borders is logical. The border between the Netherlands and Belgium is the deepest part of the Meuse River. The use of this river as a boundary river begins with the Maastricht Treaty signed by the two countries in 1843, which can be regarded as a “separation agreement” between Belgium and the Netherlands, because the two countries were “one family” before. , all part of the “United Kingdom of the Netherlands”.
  Until the early 1960s, the two countries faced each other peacefully across the river. In 1961, the dredging project of the Meuse River, and the large-scale renovation of the two countries between 1962 and 1980 to improve the shipping of the Albert Canal and the Juliana Canal, forcibly “straightened” the ancient route of the Meuse River. ”. The geomorphology of the two countries in the region has changed greatly, resulting in a situation in which Belgium has 2 small pieces of territory in the Netherlands and the Netherlands has 1 small piece of territory in Belgium. What is even more troublesome is that these small places later brought a lot of trouble to the management of public security.
  The largest of the three territories is called the Presqu’ile de l’Islal (Presqu’ile de l’Islal). Under the jurisdiction of the city of Visai. The special state of the “Aizo Peninsula” provides space for drug dealers and illegal sex trafficking, and activities such as nude parties often leave garbage all over the floor.
  The fence of the local farmer Lupeberg was destroyed many times. He was disturbed and called the police in the Belgian city of Visé many times, but the police said that they could do nothing about it: entering here from land requires going abroad to the Dutch territory, which is inconvenient; entering by boat It’s not convenient here. First, there is a lack of landing spots. Second, the police do not have speedboats. Lawlessness here peaked after a couple accidentally discovered a headless body, and in 2012 Belgium and the Netherlands finally began negotiations over three small territorial swaps.
  Peaceful exchange of territories makes management more comfortable. The two territories of
  Belgium are nature reserves. During the negotiation, the mayor of the Belgian city of Visé, Marcel Newin, put forward conditions such as wishing the Netherlands to retain the status of nature reserves, and the Netherlands readily agreed. After reaching agreement on issues such as nature protection, territorial remediation and water resources management, the two countries signed an intentional agreement in June 2016 to change the border and exchange territories. The agreement swapped two territories (about the size of 23 football fields) originally belonging to Belgium and one territory (about the size of 4 football fields) originally belonging to the Netherlands, which made it easier for both sides to manage. On November 28, 2016, the two countries formally signed the agreement in Amsterdam.
  There was once a version of the Belgian national anthem that included the following words: “As long as there is a Belgian alive, no matter how small a territory we will ever cede, whether he is a Flemish or a Walloon.” The practice of changing the big for the small obviously goes against the original intention of the lyricist of the national anthem, but the decision of the two countries based on practical considerations is more conducive to the long-term stability of the border line.
  In the history before World War II, the territories
  of many countries changed very frequently due to wars and political reasons. In contrast, they were much more stable after the war. The territorial changes and exchanges between them are striking. On February 15, 1951, the Polish and Soviet governments signed the “Soviet-Polish Agreement on Territorial Exchange”. According to the agreement, the two countries will exchange their own 480 square kilometers of land with each other, which can be described as “reciprocal exchanges” in terms of area.
  Documents at the time stated that the large-scale territorial exchange met the respective needs of the two countries, with Poland gaining oil fields in the Ustridsk district and allowing the Soviet Union to more easily build railroads. According to the agreement, all real estate left in the exchange area, such as infrastructure, buildings, farms and railway lines, are automatically transferred to the new owner, and neither party will seek its ownership in the future. As for movable materials, they are kept by individuals, provided that the owner must take them with him when he leaves. Both countries have also relocated people from their respective lands to other parts of the country.
  Some of the available information indicates that the territory surrendered by Poland (now in Ukraine) is fertile and contains coal resources. Eight years after the agreement was signed, the former Soviet Union developed four coal mines here, with an annual coal mining capacity of 15 million tons. In contrast, the land handed over by the former Soviet Union was much barren and lacked natural resources. Although the Soviet Union claimed that there was oil in the Ustridsk area, it was later proved that the oil had already been exploited. At present, there are also data questioning whether this territorial exchange was really proposed by Poland. Because the Soviet Union was very strong in Eastern Europe at that time, it is worth scrutinizing whether Poland exchanged territory voluntarily.   There is also a special human geography phenomenon in the territorial
issue – enclave, which refers to the land under the jurisdiction of a certain administrative region but not adjacent to the region. It can be used “I have you, but I
I can’t control you” to describe the relationship. The introduction of enclave as a term into international politics began in 1526. The enclave problem exists in many countries, and the enclave chaos between India and Bangladesh is particularly striking.
  The India-Bangladesh enclave problem is a classic historical mess, created by local rulers hundreds of years ago. After the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, the seriousness became increasingly prominent. Along the border between the Indian states of West Bengal and East Pakistan, there is a series of enclaves. In 1971, East Pakistan became independent and became Bangladesh, and the enclave problem became a big problem plaguing India and Bangladesh. The distribution of enclaves in India and Bangladesh is a spectacle. Many enclaves also contain another enclave (second-level enclave), and even a second-level enclave has another enclave (third-level enclave). For example, the only tertiary enclave that ever existed in the world was Dahala Kagolabari in India, with an area of ​​only 7,000 square meters. Wrapped in an Indian enclave (Tier 1 enclave).
  Residents living in such a complex enclave have long faced many inconveniences in education, water, electricity, medical care, transportation, etc. The predicament can be imagined. After the partition of India and Pakistan, the two countries tried to solve the problem through negotiation. Bangladesh also wanted to exchange enclaves with India after independence. Since the agreement between the two sides encountered resistance in India (Bangladesh got a larger enclave), the problem was delayed until 2015 before it was finally resolved.
  On June 6, 2015, the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh signed a territorial swap agreement. According to the agreement, India will get 51 Bangladeshi enclaves located in India, and Bangladesh will get 111 Indian enclaves located in Bangladesh. The residents of the enclaves have a few months to choose their nationality.
  The agreement between the two countries came into effect on August 1, 2015, and the only remaining third-level enclave in the world has since disappeared. In terms of area, Bangladesh has gained 40 square kilometers more territory than India, but the lack of schools, clinics and other public services in the enclave has improved, so Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out the agreement between the two countries to exchange territories” Just like the demolition of the Berlin Wall that year, it marked a turning point in India-Bangladesh relations.”
  It is also touching that the territorial grant
  fails . The above-mentioned is a mutually beneficial territorial exchange, and there are also moving territorial grant initiatives internationally.
  December 6, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence. As a friendly neighbor of Finland, Norway began to consider sending a big gift to Finland earlier. The gift was finally chosen by some enthusiastic Norwegian nationals as a mountain, the 1,365-meter-high summit of Mount Halty on the border between the two countries.
  Finland has the reputation of “the country of a thousand lakes”, and the country lacks both mountains and waters in terms of landforms. Halti Mountain, a 1324-meter-high slope on the Finnish side, is the highest point in Finland. The peak of Harti Mountain is 1365 meters high. In Norway, where the mountains stand in Norway, the height of this mountain top is not even ranked in the top 200 in the country.
  As early as 1972, Björn Halsen of the Norwegian Bureau of Surveying and Mapping had a whim when flying over the Harti Mountains: “Norway gave the summit of the Harti Mountains to Finland, so that Finland has a real mountain that is not. Is it good? Such a small mountain is nothing for Norway.” In 2015, the retired Halsson and a group of fans launched a campaign to ask the Norwegian government to move its border with Finland to the north by about 150 meters. About 198 meters eastward. In this way, the new border “cut” the summit of Mount Halti from the Norwegian side to the Finnish side, as a gift to Finland for the centenary of independence, while Norway only lost 0.015 square kilometers of land, so tiny The adjustment is not visible on the general map at all.
  The gift-giving initiative received nearly 17,000 likes on the social networking site “Facebook” and was echoed by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. The prime minister said: “I see a close relationship between Norway and Finland … but the adjustment of the border between the two countries raises complex legal issues.” There are also clauses in the Norwegian constitution that clearly state that the Kingdom of Norway is “indivisible”. Although this proposal to donate mountains was not implemented, many people realized that under the iron law of “sacred and indivisible territory”, there was such a touching friendship between the two peoples.

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