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N 44° 11′ 44′′, E 80° 22′ 10′′
758 MASL
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Construction site of the Korgas/Horgos International Center of Cross-border Cooperation (ICBC) seen from the Chinese side of the border in 2019. Produced by the American multinational engineering firm AECOM, the ICBC masterplan allocated plots for an international university, trade centers, hotels, sanatoria, sports complexes, and an ethnopark.

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Railway tracks leading to the dry port at the Horgos Eastern Gate (HEG) 15 kilometers west of the Kazakhstan–China border. First established in 2011, the HEG was jointly developed by the Kazakhstan national railway company, KTZ, and China’s Lianyungang Port Holdings Group (LPHG) in 2015. In 2017, China’s COSCO Shipping and LPHG jointly acquired a 49% stake in the dry port facility.

1851: To compete with Britain, which rapidly expanded trade with China after the First Opium War (1839–1842), Russia pushed for Sino–Russian trade through China’s northwestern regions. Cross-border trade began in Kuldja (or Ili in Chinese sources) in the late 1840s, and the 1851 Treaty of Kuldja further regularized trade and allowed for Russian settlement in Kuldja and Chuguchak (or Tacheng in Chinese sources).


1864: The 1864 Protocol of Chuguchak between Qing China and Tsarist Russia was signed to clarify the borderline from the Altai Mountains in the north to the Tien Shan Mountains in the south. A border post was established on the eastern bank of a tributary of Ili River at Nikan (now Korgas), which was a long-established caravan stop on a major trade route along the northern foot of the Tien Shan mountains.


1871: During the Dungan Revolt (1862–1877), which was a Muslim rebellion in Xinjiang, Russian troops seized the opportunity to intervene and occupy the Ili region.


1881: Although the 1881 Treaty of St. Petersburg (or the Treaty of Ili in Chinese sources) restored Qing sovereignty in the Ili region, it also granted Russia the right to trade in six towns in Xinjiang, Mongolia, and Gansu. A border stele was erected at Korgas, which became an official border port between China and Russia.


1917: As a major trade port between Russia and Qing China then between Russia and the Republic of China (ROC) after 1912, Korgas Port was temporarily closed during the Russian Revolution, which commenced with the abolition of the tsarist monarchy in 1917.


1920: Korgas Port was reopened, and trade between Xinjiang and Soviet territories in Central Asia developed after the ROC and Russian Soviet Republic signed the Ili Protocol in 1920.


1937: During the Second Sino–Japanese War (1937–1945), road networks expanded rapidly in the region, forming a logistical lifeline for Chinese armed forces, particularly after Japan took control of the China coast. Soviet supplies entered Xinjiang through Korgas before finally reaching Urumqi and Lanzhou.


1962: Within the context of deteriorated relations between the Soviet Union and China in the late 1950s, Korgas Port was closed following the Ili–Tacheng Incident in the spring of 1962. More than 67,000 border inhabitants of Xinjiang, most of whom were ethnic Kazaks, fled to the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan through Korgas and Baketu.


1983: Accompanied by a gradual thaw in relations between China and the Soviet Union, trade across the Sino–Soviet border resumed. Korgas Port was reopened in November 1983.


1992: The Yining Border Economic Cooperation Zone was established.


2006: With a bilateral agreement signed in 2004, construction of the Korgas/Horgos International Center of Cross-border Cooperation (ICBC) began.


2009: With a long-term gas supply agreement signed in 2006, construction of the Central Asia–China Gas Pipeline (also known as the Turkmenistan–China Gas Pipeline) began in 2007, and stage one came into operation in December 2009. Lines A, B, and C enter China at Korgas and Alashankou and connect to the second West–East Gas Pipeline in China.


2012: The ICBC was opened in April. Railway tracks from the Chinese and Kazakh sides of the borders were connected in December. Korgas Port on the Chinese side was further connected to Lianyungang Port in Jiangsu Province by a highway and railway.


2015: First established in 2011, the Horgos Eastern Gate (HEG) SEZ was jointly developed by the Kazakhstan national railway company, KTZ, and Lianyungang Port Holdings Group (LPHG).


2017: China’s COSCO Shipping and LPHG were granted a 49% stake in the HEG project. The western route of the China Railway Express through Korgas/Horgos began operations.

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