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Over the past decade, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan have participated in discussions aimed at establishing the legitimacy of the west Asian borders. In April 1996 heads of state gathered in Shanghai to sign a series of documents to normalize their border relations. The resulting “Shanghai Accord” initiated a dialogue that has now moved beyond border arrangements to encompass a broad range of policy issues relating to trade and regional security. This article reviews that process, analyzes the policy dimensions of the west Asian borders, and explores implications for regional policy cooperation.