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China Bars Soviet Summit Till Viets Leave Cambodia : Rejects Gorbachev Overture

January 12, 1988|Associated Press

BEIJING — China said today that there will be no summit with the Soviet Union while Vietnamese troops remain in Cambodia despite the publication here of an interview in which Mikhail S. Gorbachev called for such a meeting.

The Soviet leader, in an interview with the Chinese weekly magazine Outlook, called for the first Sino-Soviet summit since 1969 when Prime Minister Alexei N. Kosygin met with Chinese Premier Chou En-lai.

Before that the last summit meeting occurred in 1959 between Mao Tse-tung and Soviet party boss Nikita S. Khrushchev, a year before the two Communist giants split over ideological issues.

The magazine, which has a limited circulation and is read mostly by intellectuals, was available in Beijing today. Portions of the interview were carried earlier by news agencies in China and the Soviet Union.

Conditions Made Clear

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, asked to respond to the summit overture, said: "Chairman Deng Xiaoping has made quite clear the conditions for a high-level meeting between China and the Soviet Union. It is the strong aspiration of the international community that Vietnam should withdraw all its troops from Kampuchea (Cambodia) promptly."

In the past, the Chinese have noted two other conditions for a summit--a Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and a reduction of Soviet military strength on the 3,000-mile Sino-Soviet border. In recent months, the Chinese appear to have de-emphasized those two requirements.

Willing to Meet Anywhere

Deng, China's senior leader, has said he is willing to meet Gorbachev either in the Soviet Union or China. But he says a precondition must be Soviet action to compel Vietnam to end its nine-year military occupation of Cambodia.

Deng has said Cambodia is the most serious of the "three obstacles" to normalized Sino-Soviet relations.

Gorbachev, in his first-ever interview with a Chinese news organization, said he was happy to note the increase in exchanges between the two countries in such fields as trade, culture, science and education. He said progress has also been made in political relations, and said a summit "would be an appropriate and logical development of current political dialogue."

Gorbachev contended that "both sides believe the objective conditions exist for holding a summit."

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