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Sino-Soviet Talks Under Way in Peking
sevon months ofposturing, veiled andthreats, and occasional open fighting, China and the USSRborder talks in Peking onctober. Although thewill probably be protracted and difficult, both sides have good reason to seek some degree of accommodation. For thethe issue is simple: ossible war. Soviet military andpressure, including hints of Russian nuclear attack, has had the desired effect ofPeking to the table.
The Chinese, increasingly concerned over Soviet intentions, fear that future border clashes could be usedretext for Soviet attack. The Russians feel that others have taken advantage of their preoccupation with the China problem and want relief from the harassment, uncertainty, and political embarrassment that the border tension has caused them. Soviet diplomats areat pains to depict recent Sino-Soviet developments in an optimistic light, probably in part to convey the impression that Moscow is no longer tied down by this issue.
Moscow, judging that it holds both military and political advantage over thecan be expocted to pressettlement that wouldthe border issue from the stable of fundamental Sino-Soviet differences. The Soviets also appear hopeful that the talks
can lead to more normal statesuch as the return of ambassadors. Kosygin is reported to have made such suggestions at his meeting oneptember with Chou En-lai, and the TASSannouncing the beginning of the Peking talks implied that Moscow expected issues other than the border to be taken up.
On the other hand, thare has been no sign of Chinese readiness to arrive atar-reaching accommodation on soviet terms. hinese position paper releasedctober strongly reiterated Peking's demand that Moscowthe present frontier as based on Czarlst "unequalandew "equal treaty" be signed to replace thorn. This was the long standing Chineset,hat collapsed the last Sino-Soviet border talks In addition, Peking clearly indicated in its agreement to meet with the Russians that the questionermanent and over-all settlement should be shelved in favor of reaching agreement on interim steps to cool down the dangerous situation on the frontier.
esult, quick agreement seems passible only on military withdrawal from disputed border areas, as well as other tactical steps to minimize the chance of. further border conflict. in resolving thornyissues, such as ownership of the islands in the Ussuri and Amur rivers where fighting broke out last spring, will be far more difficult.
Page 6 WEEKLYOct 69
Peking, meanwhile, is still warning its populationoviet militaryof the Chinese "war campaign' designed togreater domestic unity, within thisomestic broadcast
Peking's acceptance of talksecessary "revolutionary" ploy to counter Moscow'sdual tactics" ofnegotiations while preparing for aggression. 1