Embarking on “Normalization”
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On 24 March 1982, Leonid Brezhnev delivered a speech on Soviet policy toward China. In the summer of that year, the Chinese leadership decided to take steps to improve Sino-Soviet relations but only under certain conditions. On 5 October, the two sides started political discussions at the vice-ministerial level. The most important development in this new round of “normalization” negotiations was that the Chinese side made a number of demands. It wanted to remove the “three major obstacles” to normalizing the Sino-Soviet relationship, including the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the Sino-Soviet and Sino-Mongolian borders, the departure of the Soviet Army from Afghanistan, and persuading the Vietnamese leadership for withdraw from Cambodia. The reorientation of the Sino-Soviet state relationship thus entered a phase of geopolitical competition, which was the main reason behind their protracted “normalization” negotiations.