Political map of the Arctic & the Far North 02 September 1855 (Crimean War in the Arctic): Other nations were soon to follow the United States in signing treaties with Japan (Opening of Japan), in particular Britain (Anglo-Japanese Friendship Treaty), which was currently fighting Russia in the Crimean War and busy hitting Russian bases along that country's vast coastline. With the use of Japanese ports, the British and their French allies were able to outflank the Russian naval base at Petropavlovsk (Siege of Petropavlovsk) and chase the outnumbered Russian Pacific fleet into hiding behind Sakhalin (which the Allies thought was a peninsula but the Russians knew to be an island). Nonetheless, the Russians managed to get their own emissary to Japan, opening up favorable relations and partitioning the Kuril Islands between them (Treaty of Shimoda).