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New Soviet-Chinese Visa Agreement Announced

July 19, 1988

MOSCOW (AP) _ Soviet and Chinese citizens soon will not need visas to visit each other’s country for business purposes, a Foreign Ministry official announced Tuesday.

Oleg Avramenko, first deputy chief of the ministry’s consular directorate, said the new agreement goes into effect on Aug. 14. He called it part of the ″overall Soviet-Chinese relationship.″

Soviet and Chinese representatives signed the agreement in Moscow on Friday, he told a government news briefing.

The two communist giants fell out in the 1960s over ideological differences and border questions, but now are holding regular negotiations about normalizing their relations.

Avramenko said that under the new regulations, ″all citizens of the two countries can go on business trips regardless of whether they have diplomat’s, citizen’s or businessmen’s passports.″

The Soviet official said that previously, only Chinese and Soviet diplomats were authorized to visit the other country without visas.

He said the new visa-free system would make it easier for members of economic cooperatives that have been created in both countries to do business together.

Avramenko said the Chinese offered to sell the Soviets a consignment of watermelons last year, but the more stringent visa regulations made it ″hard to close that deal.″ The melons were finally sold, he said.

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