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Arkhipov Meets Chinese Vice Premier

March 16, 1986

PEKING (AP) _ Soviet and Chinese deputy premiers met Sunday at the opening session of a new bilateral commission set up to discuss widening economic and technological ties between the huge communist neighbors.

Details were not released of the meeting between Soviet First Deputy Premier Ivan Arkhipov and Chinese Vice Premier Li Peng. The two men headed their countries’ delegations to the Chinese-Soviet Commission on Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

The official Xinhua news agency said the two sides discussed cooperation in transportation and civil aviation.

Xinhua quoted Li, a Soviet-trained engineer, as saying Peking ″was pleased to see certain improvement in bilateral relations, mainly in the fields of economy, trade, science and technology, education and culture.″

However, Li was quoted as saying problems remained. He apparently was referring to three issues that China says prevent normal political relations between Peking and Moscow: Soviet backing for the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia; the Soviet presence in Afghanistan, which borders on southwestern China; and Soviet troop deployment on China’s northern border.

Arkhipov and his delegation arrived in Peking on Saturday and were expected to stay up to 10 days. The commission is to hold a second meeting Tuesday.

Soviet-Chinese trade totaled $1.9 billion in 1985, according to Chinese customs figures, compared to $7.17 billion in U.S.-Chinese trade in 1985.

Western diplomats said Arkhipov’s visit was unlikely to result in any improvment in Chinese-Soviet political relations, which have been chilly for more than two decades.

The communist giants split in the early 1960s over ideological and political differences.

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