Amur River, Sino-Russian border
Russia and China are racing to secure competing claims to an island in the Amur River, which forms part of their common border. The 100-square-mile island boasts fertile land coveted by farming communities on both banks. The Russians are building a pontoon bridge to connect the island to their land. The Chinese, though, are going one better, filling their side of the river with rocks and dirt, to remove any separation between their territory and the island. That tactic could backfire, one Russian official told the Moscow daily Izvestiya, because Chinese boats will then have to pass the island on the Russian side of the riverand the Russians might choose not to raise their bridge.