The Turning Point in “Normalization”
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As the Sino-Soviet political negotiations became deadlocked, the Chinese side made far more proactive efforts in seeking progress than the Soviet side. China was able to actively promote normalization between the two countries because it had a resolute leadership, a clear direction of reforms, and a stable domestic situation. A vital turn of events took place in 1985 when China reconsidered its stance on the so-called three major obstacles. Beijing made the Vietnamese departure from Cambodia its primary or even sole precondition for normalizing relations with the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, the ascendance to power of Mikhail Gorbachev led to drastic changes in Soviet domestic and foreign policies. As a result, the two sides were able to reach an agreement on a Vietnamese military withdrawal from Cambodia as well as a political settlement of the Cambodia question. Thus, the final obstacle to normalizing Sino-Soviet relation was resolved.