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CommunistSSR: Token Diplomacy
They probably judge that the onus now is on Peking to reciprocate. Thus far, however, there has been no firm indication as to when thewill send an ambassador to Moscow.
China's precise motivation for ending itsonoviet ambassador remains unclear. Chinese officials in the past had voiced strong concern that Moscow would use the appointment to downgrade the crucial Peking border talks to the ambassadorial level. Moscow's designation of llichev as the new head of the Soviet delegation no doubt reassured the Chinese somewhat over Soviet intentions. In any case. Peking almost certainly decided that further stalling would have been counterproductive and would have opened China to charges that it is the intransigent party in the dispute.
Recent diplomatic moves by both sides ate unlikely to lead to any significant breakthrough in Sino-Soviet relations. Onugust. Moscow announced that it had replaced its chief delegate to the Peking border talks, First Deputy Foreign Minister Kuznetsov, with Deputy ForeignLeonid llichev. Although llichev is of slightly lesser rank than his predecessor, his appointment has reaffirmed Soviet interest in continuing the negotiations and has ostensibly satisfied China's strong desire that the talks be continued at the deputy foreign minister level. Nevertheless, the Chinese almost certainly view Moscow's choice with some ill feeling, particularly because llichev was closely associated with virulent anti-Chinese propaganda during the Khrushchev era and has been in partial disgrace since Khrushchev's ouster.
Peking's acceptance of Tolstikov, likeappointment of llichev, is largely an empty gesture and reflects little prospect for movement in the deadlocked border talks or improvement in the strained relations between the two states. This point was most vividly brought home byexchanges earlier this month in which the Chinese voiced unusually strong concern over Moscow's "greedy ambitions" against China, while the Soviets accused Peking of attempting to "sabotage" the border discussions.
our-month period of parrying strong Soviet efforts to accredit an ambassador to Peking, the Chinese charge in Moscow tolddiplomats last week that agrement has been granted Vasily Tolstikov. As in the case of llichev, Moscow's ambassadorial choice has little appeal for the Chinese. Tolstikov, the former chief of the important Leningrad party apparatus, has noexperience and is known for his orthodox views on ideological matters. The Sovietsintend to cite his appointment, as well as the dispatch of their new chief negotiator to Peking, as evidence of their desire to normalize relations.
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